Bo Bichette

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Bo Joseph Bichette

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Biographical Information[edit]

Bo Bichette made his major league debut in 2019. He is the son of Dante Bichette and the brother of Dante Bichette Jr..

Bichette was taken by the Toronto Blue Jays in the second round of the 2016 amateur draft, their 3rd pick (after T.J. Zeuch and J.B. Woodman) and the 66th pick of the draft. He impressed for the GCL Blue Jays, hitting .427/.451/.732 with 21 runs scored and 36 RBI in 22 games, fielding .983 in 16 games at shortstop and 1.000 in 6 contests at second base. Baseball America named him the 4th-best prospect in the Gulf Coast League, behind Mickey Moniak, Matt Manning and Juan Soto, and Toronto's #8 prospect, between Zeuch and Jon Harris. He played alongside his brother for the Brazilian national team in the 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers (their mother is a Brazilian native). Starting at short the first two games, he was 1 for 8 with 3 strikeouts and 2 runs (both against Pakistan. He was benched the third game in favor of Leonardo Reginatto, who moved over from third base. After Reginatto made a crucial two-run error, Bichette pinch-hit for Irait Chirino and stayed in at shortstop (Reginatto moving to third base and Dante Jr. from third to left field to replace Chirino). He was 1 for 3 with two more strikeouts and five runners left on base as Brazil lost, 4-3, to Great Britain to be eliminated.

Bo was named to the United States team for the 2017 Futures Game. He started that season with the Lansing Lugnuts of the Class A Midwest League where he hit .384 in 70 games, with 10 homers and 51 RBI. He and teammate Vladimir Guerrero Jr., another second-generation player, were the two Blue Jays representatives at the Futures Game and both were promoted to the High A Dunedin Blue Jays of the Florida State League to coincide with their appearance at the prospect showcase. He was again named to the United States team for the 2018 Futures Game, continuing his meteoric ascent through the Blue Jays chain. Bichette opened 2019 with the Buffalo Bisons as the youngest player in AAA [1]. Guerrero would have been younger, had he not started the year on the injured list, and the major league Blue Jays had a player even younger than the two young prospects in pitcher Elvis Luciano, who had just turned 19. Bo was hitting .250 with 5 extra-base hits in his first 14 games when he was sidelined by a broken hand, the result of being hit by a pitch thrown by Hector Santiago of the Syracuse Mets on April 22nd. He hit well after returning to the fold and, by mid-July, there were stories in the press saying that he did not understand why he was still in AAA when teammates Guerrero and Cavan Biggio had already joined the big club and he had nothing left to prove in the minors. One of the obstacles to his being called up was removed on July 28th when the Jays traded Eric Sogard to the Tampa Bay Rays, opening up a spot for an infielder.

Indeed, he made his major league debut the next day, July 29th, as the starting shortstop against the Kansas City Royals and did not have to wait long to collect his first hit, as he singled off Brad Keller on the second pitch he saw, finishing the day 1 for 4. He hit his first homer two days later, off Jakob Junis of the Royals, as part of a three-hit day in a 4-1 win. Bo collected 10 extra-base hits in his first 9 career games, the most by any player since at least 1908. He also set a team record by hitting safely in each of those 9 games, the longest hitting streak by a Blue Jays player to start his career. On August 7th, he doubled in his 8th straight game, breaking the team record of 7 set by Carlos Delgado in 2000. On August 8th, he played his first game in his home ballpark, the Rogers Centre, and extended his hitting streak to 11 games and his doubles streak to 9 games, a new major league record; his first hit was a homer off Domingo German of the New York Yankees. Both streaks ended when he was shut out the next day and after a couple more quiet days, he burst out again on August 12th with a four-hit game in a 19-4 rout of the Texas Rangers, giving him 26 hits in his first 15 games. His streak of getting on base safely reached 17 games before he was finally shut down on August 16th, shy of the record of 24 games set by Rocco Baldelli. On August 20th, he led off a game against Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers with a homer, and went deep again in the 6th for the first two-homer game of his career. Unfortunately, the Jays were beaten soundly, 16-3. He had a couple more rare hitting feats before the month ended: 15 doubles and 45 hits in his first 30 games. He finished his rookie campaign batting .311/.358/.571 in 46 games (212 plate appearances) with 29 extra base hits and a 2.1 bWAR.

In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, he hit .301 in 29 games, with 5 homers and 23 RBIs and an OPS+ of 128. He was having a truly outstanding season, hitting .361 on August 15th, when he had to miss a month with a right knee sprain. He had homered in four consecutive games just before the injury, but did not hit another one after his return, while batting .242. Still, the Blue Jays managed to make it into the postseason, but he was held hitless in 8 plate appearances by the Tampa Bay Rays as they Jays were swept in two games in the Wild Card Series. He started 2021 slowly before having the second two-homer game of his career on April 6th against the Texas Rangers. It came in the middle of an 11-game hitting streak that also included a five-RBI game on April 10th, and another two-homer game, this one against the New York Yankees on April 14th. His second homer in that game was a walk-off shot off Chad Green to lead off the bottom of the 9th. On April 20th, he tied his homer total from the previous season by hitting his 5th off Eduardo Rodriguez of the Boston Red Sox, over the Green Monster at Fenway Park. Incidentally, the ball landed near the building on Lansdowne Street that once house Gold's Gym, which happens to be where his father first met his mother, Mariana, back in 1991. While most of the attention that season was directed at Guerrero and double play mate Marcus Semien, he quietly had an outstanding year, being named to the All-Star team for the first time, hitting for both average and power, and also stealing bases without being caught. In late July, when off-season free agent signee George Springer was finally healthy enough to assume his customary lead-off spot, he was moved down from the second spot to batting clean-up, a move justified by his uncanny ability to make contact with two strikes and to drive in runs, in spite of the presence on the team of more typical sluggers like Guerrero, Teoscar Hernandez or Randal Grichuk. He finished the year at .298 in 159 games, with 121 runs scored, 30 doubles, 29 homers and 102 RBIs. His OPS+ was 121, he stole 25 bases in 26 attempts and led the American League with 191 hits. He finished 12th in the MVP vote. Really, the only blemish on his record were the 24 errors he committed at shortstop, most of them throwing errors.

He started the 2022 season slowly, as after 16 games he was hitting .217 with just 1 homer and 4 RBIs. On April 25th, however, he hit the first grand slam of his career, off Tyler Danish of the Boston Red Sox. The blast broke a 2-2 tie in the 8th inning as the Jays went on to win the game, 6-2.

His father named him after Bo Jackson.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • AL All-Star (2021)
  • AL Hits Leader (2021)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2021)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 1 (2021)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 1 (2021)

Sources[edit]

Further Reading[edit]

  • Alexis Brudnicki: "Bo homers, sets 2B record in home debut", mlb.com, August 9, 2019. [2]
  • Cathal Kelly: "Bichette Dreams Big", The Globe and Mail, August 19, 2019, pp. B9-B10.
  • Matt Kelly: "Perfect thief: This star could make SB history: Bichette yet to be caught stealing, could join surprisingly small club", mlb.com, August 11, 2021. [3]
  • Gabe Lacques: "'The sky's the limit': After inspired debut, Bo Bichette ready for star turn in Blue Jays' legacy legion", USA Today, February 28, 2020. [4]
  • Jorge L. Ortiz: "Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette show off their child's play at Futures Game", July 9, 2017. [5]

Related Sites[edit]