When the Toronto Blue Jays drafted shortstop Bo Bichette in the 2016 MLB Draft, it was met with a shroud of criticism. He was originally scouted as a second baseman, but the Jays wanted to shape him into a shortstop.
“Maybe it’s because of how I grew up and because of my dad, I always had a target on my back,” Bichette said. “For me, I go out there and my goal is to get better every single day and try to become the best player that I can. Those rankings aren’t pressure on me because I have my own goals and they are a lot bigger than those.”
Now, the young prospect has flourished on the field and has become one of the Blue Jays’ bright future stars. Let’s take a closer look at why the Toronto management team is so excited about this young kid.
Bo Bichette’s Bat and Baseball IQ Make Him Effective Shortstop
One of the fundamentals that make Bichette dangerous is his power at the plate. He currently plays for the Blue Jays affiliate, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, where he is hitting .267/.326/.430, with eight home runs and 46 RBI. Many pitchers have tried to reveal his weaknesses on the inside of the plate, but the young shortstop hasn’t chased those pitches. But in April, Bichette decided to swing for the fences, trying to hit a home run every at-bat.
This led to a decline in his offensive production, where he hit .209/.285/.341 with 13 walks and 29 strikeouts in 144 plate appearances during a 32 game stretch in the months of April and May. However, in 21 games since, the shortstop has blossomed into a power-hitting threat, batting .372/.416/.628 with eight walks to eight strikeouts.
“He was being a little bit overaggressive,” stated Fisher Cats manager John Schneider. “For a kid that won a batting title last year and had basically video game numbers his whole minor-league career offensively, it was a handful of games where teams were pitching him a certain way and he was trying really hard to combat that and got away from his approach. I love the way he’s going about it now and the way he’s adjusted in his at-bats, the work he’s put in has been on point and when you look up at the end of August, he’s going to be right where Bo usually is.”
“For him to figure out things as quickly as he did is just a credit to him.”
On the defensive side, Bichette possesses terrific range and effective instincts at the shortstop position. This season, he has 35 putouts, 78 assists to only two errors. He has had the opportunity to work alongside Troy Tulowitzki so he can improve his skills and knowledge.
“Tulo, he helped me out a lot when I was there,” Bichette stated. “I remember one day in Spring Training, out of nowhere he said, ‘hey Bo, let’s go take ground balls.’ He had a big influence on me that summer and a bunch of other guys, too. I got to watch Michael Cuddyer and the way he prepared, I think that year he won the batting title. A lot of good players there, I learned a lot.”
Bo Bichette Follows in Father’s Footsteps with Major League Ambitions
This year, Bichette was one of two Blue Jays prospects to be selected in the Futures Game, one of the premier opportunities for scouts to see the best young talent in baseball. According to MLB.com, Bo is the seventh-ranked prospect in all of baseball, reflecting the future potential he has to make an impact in the MLB.
Bichette wants to emulate the journey that his father Dante went on, which is to become a consistent threat in the majors. Bichette Sr. was a career .299 hitter, with 274 home runs and 1141 RBI. Dante, despite wanting his son Bo to pursue a career in tennis, was glad that he is on the road to becoming a successful professional baseball player.
“It doesn’t surprise me that he’s really successful,” said Bichette Sr. “The trick to being successful is getting after it every day and I think Bo has fallen in love with that part of the game.”
“Bo has all the physical tools to be a special player in this game.” “He’s an intense competitor, he comes to beat you every day, every pitch he’s focused, that high level of intensity is what makes him stand out.”
For a team that is exuding mediocrity at the professional level, the Blue Jays farm system has tons of promise. But for Bichette, his sole focus is to improve and continue to get better, so that he can be a consistent starter on the Jays Triple-A Buffalo Bisons.
“I’ve noticed that I can make plays that other people can make,” Bo said. “I haven’t really seen people make plays that I can’t make. The way that I’m going to stay at shortstop is by working hard. I’m not going to stay there if I don’t keep working hard and improving. But, yeah, I believe in myself and staying there.”
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