Is Bo Bichette making a case for a contract extension over Vladimir Guerrero Jr.?

Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. / Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette made their debuts with the Toronto Blue Jays back in 2019, they have been the key cornerstones for the rapidly growing franchise in the past few years, leading them to much success in the process. Led by the dynamic duo, the Jays have had a winning record ever since 2020 and have made the postseason in two of the past three seasons as well. In terms of their personal achievements, Bichette was also an All-Star back in 2021, whereas Guerrero has done even better, becoming a two-time All-Star, AL MVP finalist, Silver Slugger and Gold Glove winner.

In our recent review about key young players in the Blue Jays’ organization, we identified both Guerrero and Bichette as the top two important young players for the Jays’ future, with Guerrero ranked #1, and Bichette ranked #2. As a result, it will be essential for the Blue Jays to secure their future superstars with contract extensions as soon as they can to set the core for the future success of the franchise.

At first look, it may seem obvious to try and lock in Guerrero first based on his MVP-caliber performance in 2021, along with what he has accomplished already with the ballclub. However, if we take a closer look at the numbers, in addition to what has transpired in Bichette’s play so far in 2023, it appears more and more that Bichette is definitely making a stronger case for an extension sooner than Guerrero.

Guerrero vs. Bichette comparison

Here are the statistics for both Guerrero and Bichette so far in the 2023 season.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Bo Bichette







Runs Scored






Home Runs






Total Bases



Batting Average



On-Base Percentage









Although run production numbers appear similar for both players, Bichette has been by far the more prolific and consistent hitter of the two, as he also currently leads all AL players in hits and batting average. His superior ability in being able to spray any batted balls to all parts of the field with varying angles and power makes him one of the more feared and unpredictable hitters in all of baseball, as there is no one defensive set that could perfectly counter what he could do. In addition, Bichette has maintained his high level of productivity throughout his career. On the other hand, Guerrero had just that one exceptional season in 2021, otherwise has generally been more inconsistent (yet still solid) over the years, but still has the utmost potential to break out again.

Moving into more advanced statistical metrics by FanGraphs, the difference between the two players become more evident when we take into consideration who is the more important player when the game is on the line. In the past three seasons (including this year), Bichette has maintained a WPA above 2.1, whereas Guerrero has fallen from 3.22 in 2021, to 2.10 in 2022, and then to only 1.37 this year. In addition, Bichette’s fWAR is currently 2.5, whereas Guerrero is 0.7. So Bichette has been more of a difference maker than Guerrero in helping the Jays to more victories.

More importantly, looking at their Clutch numbers, the contrast between the two is at its highest. Bichette has maintained a positive Clutch the past four seasons (including this year), averaging 0.683 (which is considered above average), whereas Guerrero has severely faltered in this category, averaging -0.163 (which is considered below average) during the same time interval, including a horrendous -1.06 (which is poor) during his supposingly MVP-caliber year in 2021. Therefore, it has been Bichette, and not Guerrero, that has been coming through in the clutch in high leverage situations for the Jays with the game on the line.

Not only that, Bichette has made drastic improvements on his defence this year as well, which was his only main flaw in his career coming into this season. His .976 fielding percentage currently is the highest in his career, and is ranked sixth among all AL shortstops in 2023. In addition, he has 2 DRS to boot, after a horrid -16 the previous year. So Bichette is definitely getting it done more consistently now on both sides of the field. Guerrero has still maintained his solid defence from his Gold Glove season last year, but currently has a DRS of -1.

There is no doubt that both players are critical for the Jays’ success in the long term, but when it comes to who makes the most impact and could be the game changer for the team when they need him most, Bichette by far has been the player coming through for the Jays. So if the franchise wants to build around the most important key player for the ballclub, they should probably look towards Bichette, instead of Guerrero, as the target to nail down the contract extension first so that he could be the backbone leader and difference maker for the team for a long time.