When it comes to who best represents the face of the franchise currently for the Toronto Blue Jays, a few candidates come to mind. One obvious choice perhaps would be Vladimir Guerrero Jr. As the son of a Hall of Famer, Guerrero took the world by storm in his rookie debut in 2019 when he was engaged in an epic battle with Joc Pederson at the All-Star Home Run Derby. He may not have taken home the title in the end, but people certainly began to take notice of him when he set the record for most home runs hit at the annual star event.
From there, Guerrero eventually made a name for himself with his breakout season in 2021, as he led the American League in runs scored (123), home runs (48), and OPS (1.002) and finished second in AL MVP voting to Shohei Ohtani. With his meteoric rise to stardom, there didn’t seem to be anything that could stop him. However, for the past two seasons, Guerrero has been unable to repeat his MVP-calibre performance from 2021, casting some doubt in some of his supporters and making some wonder if that one season was just an outlier instead in the process.
Around the very same time frame, another promising prospect began his own giantic leap to stardom, but this time it was a pitcher in the form of Alek Manoah. His sudden burst onto the MLB scene in 2021 with only 35 career professional baseball innings under his belt surprised many, perhaps including himself. However, Manoah defied the odds and put together a strong rookie season, finishing with a stellar 9-2 record and a 3.22 ERA. He promptly followed that up with a breakthrough sophomore season that saw him become one of the finalists for the AL Cy Young award in 2022.
More importantly, it was Manoah’s style and composure on the mound that has captured the heart and attention from his legion of fans in every way. The way he could always grind it out to get out of tough jams and get that key strikeout without breaking a sweat was what made him different from most others in the business. On top of that, his penchant for willing to stick up for his teammates made him adored by many supporters. However, a disastrous 2023 season that saw Manoah get demoted to the minor leagues twice has temporarily derailed his storied career for now, as he looks to bounce back this upcoming season.
But among all of this, there has been one individual who has quietly but steadily made constant improvements in his game the moment he first stepped onto the big league field. Many may not have noticed at first, but as each year has gone by, his overall impact on the ballclub has become much more prominent now. That player is none other than Bo Bichette.
Bichette has been the most consistent and most reliable star player on the team for the past few seasons. In just a short five-year span, he has fully developed into one of the best hitters in the game. Not only does he maintain a strong .300 batting average year in and year out, but he has led the American League in hits in two of the past three seasons.
In addition, Bichette has even worked hard in converting one of his main weaknesses into an acceptable strength now with his greatly improved defence over the past year. On top of that, he has also become a leader in the clubhouse, constantly talking to his teammates to make each other that much better and sharing his passion for winning and success. It has been his significant growth and maturity both on the field and off the field that has made him finally stand out above the rest in recent years.
As a result, there is no question who the face of the franchise for the Jays moving forward is, as Bo Bichette should be the unanimous, undisputed choice.