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We continue to look at the 2020 Toronto Blue Jays by looking at one of the key cogs in the Blue Jays’ rebuild: Bo Bichette.
Bo, the son of former MLB star Dante Bichette (who has since taken a coaching role with the Blue Jays), was the Blue Jays’ second-round draft pick in 2016 and quickly made an impact. He hit .427/.451/.732 in 22 games with the GCL Blue Jays in 2016 despite having his season cut short with a severe case of appendicitis.
He followed that up by winning a batting title and an MVP award in the Midwest League in 2017 despite playing only about half a season there (70 games) before moving up to Dunedin, hitting a whopping .362/.423/.565 over both levels, rapping 41 doubles and 14 home runs.
In 131 games in Double-A at the age of 20 in 2018, he continued his strong play, hitting .286/.343/.453 and made his major league debut in 2019, getting 212 major league plate appearances and he hit .311/.358/.571 with 18 doubles and 11 home runs, adding 15 stolen bases.
In spring training of 2020 Bichette got into 13 games and hit .286/.359/.743 with four home runs before the Grapefruit League was shut down and then got off to a great start to the season, hitting .361/.391/.672 with four doubles and five home runs in just 64 plate appearances before he went down with a knee sprain, costing him about a month. When he returned, he wasn’t nearly as successful at the plate, hitting just .242/.266/.355 in 64 plate appearances, seeing every meaningful number decrease across the board. In the playoffs, he went 0/6 with an RBI and a walk but also made two crucial errors in Game 2 of the best-of-three series against the Tampa Bay Rays.
It was a very uneven season for Bichette as he had a very strong first part but a weak second part as he looked to be a different player after returning from his injury. The playoff errors were also a big deal (although he didn’t commit an error in the 12 games he played after returning) and the fact that his knee was not at 100% when he returned could have been a factor in his drop off in play.
Still, Bichette is a key piece of the Blue Jays’ blueprint going forward, despite the fact that there are rumours that the Jays might look to move him to second base, bringing in a shortstop and moving Cavan Biggio over to third base. But Bichette’s ability to read pitchers and pitches is rare and the Jays will likely see better production from him after an offseason for him to heal up.
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