Bo Bichette is named after Bo Jackson.
For Bo Bichette, with your dad being Dante Bichette, you’re probably going to spend more time in big league ballparks than the average kid.
That’s certainly case for Bo Bichette, but of the big league stadiums he’s seen in person—he says Fenway Park and Busch Stadium were his favorites—his first tour of Chicago’s Wrigley Field didn’t come courtesy of his dad’s 43 career games there.
Instead, his first visit to the Friendly Confines came when his brother, Dante Jr., appeared at the 2010 Under Armour game, an annual showcase for the very best prep prospects. Five years later, Bo continued the family tradition when he played in it August 15, 2015.
- At the 2013 World Wood Bat Championship, in Jupiter, Florida, Bichette played on a team with two first-rounders (Alex Jackson and Nick Gordon) and another player (Forrest Wall) taken in the first 35 picks. Be he says the challenge doesn’t faze him.
“That summer was when I realized how good of a player I could be,” he said. “Obviously they’re stronger than me, they’re faster than me and they’re more experienced, but at the same time I was hanging with them, and they were the best in the country, three years older, so that’s kind of when I noticed how good of a player I was.”
Bo was home schooled until attending Lake Vista (FL) High in 2014, his junior year of high school.
"We used to live in Orlando and my brother (Dante Jr.) was playing (minor-league baseball) in Charleston and my dad was coaching with the Rockies. Me and my mom were traveling all the time," Bo explained
"Now that my dad is back and my brother is with the Tampa Yankees, my mom wanted a place that was close by my brother. That’s how we moved to Tierra Verde. We would come over to Lake Vista to practice and we met Coach Ganchou. I thought it would be fun to play high school ball.”
Asked if any of his teammates knew who his dad is, Bichette said, "Maybe a few. But he was a little before their time. I like it like that."
Mariana Bichette, Bo's mother, is the straw that stirs the family drink. She is an extremely intelligent and engaging person. She was asked how she and Dante meet.
"I was a student at Boston University, but I was really more a student of the city of Boston! Dante was the first person to walk in during my first day at work at Gold’s Gym on Landsdowne Street in Boston. I showed him around and made him a few protein shakes. He asked my manager to take me to the game and so my first day of work lasted about four hours. My manager and I walked across the street to the game.
"I had no idea that the structure across the street was Fenway Park, and did not understand what that meant to a Boston baseball fan in general. Afterwards, I told Dante to meet my friends and I at a bar that I worked at, which was also located on Landsdowne. I was about 45 minutes late and I was literally minutes away from not meeting him. Dante was walking out as I walked in. The rest is history. We were married two years later. As a side note, I now have a huge photograph of Landsdowne Street, Gold’s on the left, Fenway on the right, hanging in my family room!"
Mariana was asked about the baseball wife lifestyle.
"For me, I just met a guy who played baseball and figured it out along the way. We have had 40 changes of address logged with the post office. I moved from apartment to apartment and never lived in a home more than parts of two years during Dante’s career. I made friends just about as quickly as I would see them go, via release or trade. Literally, I moved in and out of homes three times a year and somehow raised two kids along the way.
"I learned sports massage, carried a massage table over one shoulder while pushing a stroller and holding a hand through pretty much every airport in the country. I settled kids in and then gave Dante a sports massage, once, sometimes twice a day. But I didn’t struggle to travel. I could bring help as my option. I was able to catch Broadway shows and visit museums. I enjoyed dinners in the finest restaurants, often after hours. I also got to watch my husband do something with his life that only a relative handful of people ever get to try. I’m usually in jeans or in yoga clothes. I never want for anything but I also never want much. I did enjoy being around the best of the best everyday. I learned a lot from that time in my life."
In 2016, before Bo's senior season, he had already commited to Arizona State.
June 2016: The Blue Jays chose Bichette in the second round, out of Lakewood High School in Florida. He signed for $1.1 million, via scout Matt Bishoff. So he passed up Arizona State.
Dante and Bo played together for Brazil's World Baseball qualifier team in September in Brooklyn. Their mother is Brazilian.
In 2017, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Bichette as the 8th-best prospect in the Blue Jays organization. They moved Bo up to #2, behind only Vlady Guerrero Jr. in the winter before 2018 Spring Training. And he remained at #2 in the spring of 2019, again behind Vlady Jr.
Dante Bichette, who contended for the Triple Crown in 1995 with the Rockies, told his son Bo to pick up a tennis racket, not a baseball bat, when he was showing a serious interest in sports as a youth.
"I told him, you can write your own lineup in tennis," Dante Bichette said. "You either win or lose. In baseball, sometimes you have to rely on the politics of who is writing the lineup. It's not all that fun."
Bo Bichette became an accomplished tennis player, but he also couldn't resist the call of baseball. Now, nobody is keeping the Blue Jays' No. 9 prospect out of the lineup—certainly not the pitchers in the Midwest League, where Bo was an overpowering force for Class A Lansing. A second-round pick by the Blue Jays in 2016, Bichette is enjoying a tour de force after a ruptured appendix ended his initial season.
Dante Bichette still likes to think that tennis was a good idea for Bo.
"Bo was an incredibly good tennis player," he said. "He would've been a good one. I think tennis helped his [baseball] game. Athletic movements are athletic movements. The swing, the forehand, the throw … they're all athletic movements. Tennis was a way he could practice without going out and grinding out baseball practices. He could get the same kind of workout, and add some footwork in there."
Lansing Lugnuts hitting coach Donnie Murphy said Bichette is a gifted hitter.
"To me, Bo has elite bat speed, and that more than anything sets him apart," Murphy said. "He probably has some of the quickest hands I've seen for a hitter. He also has a good approach. He knows what kind of hitter he is. He doesn't try to be different than what he is. He's also super-competitive. I think that's what makes him a great player and great hitter."
Bo Bichette said he still has boxes to check before he moves up in the Blue Jays' organization.
"I think I just have to show the Blue Jays my maturity," Bichette said. "I'm 19 years old. As long as I show them that I'm ready for the challenge of the next levels, I think that's it. I take the game pretty seriously. When I struggle or make a few outs in a row, I get pretty mad. I think the Blue Jays are looking for me to handle a little bit of failure better than I have been. I've been talking to the Blue Jays a lot and basically told them that I'm on-board with handling stuff better and not getting so mad, but I told them I don't want to lose the fire I have as a player, and they're on-board with me. It's a collective effort to try to make that happen."
Bichette said he's content playing shortstop and second base.
"In the long run, playing two positions will be better for me," Bichette said. "Who knows in how many years, but if I'm close to being ready for the big leagues and they need a second baseman, and all I've been doing is playing shortstop, maybe they wouldn't be comfortable putting me up there. I think it gives the Blue Jays more flexibility with me. It's easier if you're just playing one position every day, and you know that you're going to play one position every day. I'm just trying to work hard at both and become the best player at both positions that I can. I'm definitely more comfortable at shortstop, but second base is easier, if that makes sense. I like to make plays on the run, and you can do that more at shortstop."
Dante Bichette said Bo's baseball IQ will help him make a name for himself in the game.
"I stopped trying to teach him when he was 11," Dante Bichette said. "I started learning from him a little bit. He's got a really good head for it. He really understands himself. He understands what things mean. His biggest strength is he doesn't panic when things go south. That allows him to recover quickly. I started asking questions rather than teaching right around 11, and he seemed to have a lot of good answers, so I stopped teaching. I think the key is his ability to make quick adjustments, because everybody out here is so gifted. You just walk around batting practice and you'll see some really gifted players, but the people who make quick adjustments tend to be more consistent, and tend to put up … maybe not better numbers, but more often numbers. Babe Ruth didn't hit the longest homer, he just hit the most. Hank Aaron didn't hit the longest homer, he just hit the most. Bo tends to make quick adjustments. I give that to him." (Curt Rallo - Special to MiLB.com - May 25, 2017)
In 2017, Bo represented the Blue Jays in the All-Star Futures game.
McMaster: We're gonna talk about hitters and pitchers in the Minor Leagues who have really seen their stock soar in 2017. And that's where we're gonna start. Because one of those hitters is Bo Bichette. All right, Bo, you hit .362 this season across two levels. That's kind of a video game-type number. My first question for you is: Have you surprised yourself with the numbers you've been able to put up in a couple of years in the Minor Leagues here?
Bichette: You know, I get that question asked a lot. But I would say I'm not really surprised that I've done well. I didn't necessarily think that chasing .400 was in the realm of possibility coming into pro ball. But I'm just working hard and trying to continue to do that
.Jim Callis: Bo, obviously you had a better sense of pro ball than most guys. Your father [Dante] played in the big leagues and was an All-Star, your brothers played in the Minor Leagues. But what about coming into the Minor Leagues, if anything, has been different than you might have expected? Obviously you've played well on the field. But has it been everything you'd expected, or has there been something that maybe was different than you thought?
Bichette: No, I mean, for me, man, there's not a whole lot that can prepare you for pro ball. Like you said, I was about as prepared as anybody could be, and the last month of the season, last month-and-a-half, I was just trying to get out of bed and get to the field and get through the day. The season's long, it's really a grind mentally—more than physically, honestly. There's nothing really that can prepare you for it, but the first season is a great time to learn.
Jonathan Mayo: Bo, not only were you dealing with that first long full season, but you also got bumped up a level. Was that something that you had kind of put on your wish list as a goal for 2017, to earn that promotion? And what did you see the differences were between the Midwest League and the Florida State League?
Bichette: Yeah, that was definitely a goal of mine. I kind of knew that the Blue Jays probably planned to keep me in the Midwest League all year, and so my goal was to try to force the hand. And I did that.The difference between the two levels for me was. There's a little bit more velocity in the Florida State League, for sure. You face 98 mph on a consistent basis. But the biggest part about the Florida State League is, you get to the field and it's 100 degrees, and you've got to take BP and you've got to take grounders. You're physically drained by the time the game starts, and it just becomes a mind game by then, in terms of how you approach the game and get through the heat.
Callis: How much was the batting title on your mind as the season progressed? Obviously you were chasing .400 for a while—you probably have heard repeatedly that you were leading the Minors in hitting. Was that something that you were keeping an eye on down the stretch?
Bichette: I'm not gonna lie, I looked at it a couple of times. But it wasn't really on my mind. I'm kind of a day-to-day person, so for me it was just going to the field and getting my work done and continuing to play well. That was all I was worried about at the time.
Mayo: Thanks to Jim, I know that you're the first teenager to lead the Minor Leagues in batting average since 1963. I guess, do you know who did it before you? Because I don't.
Bichette: Um, no, I have no idea.
Mayo: I'm sure Jim knows the name. Jim, do you know the name?
Callis: It was Gil Torres. Who never played in the Big Leagues.
Mayo: So we won't talk about him anymore.One of the things that's been so fun to watch, not only with the year that you had, but in the Blue Jays system, is you playing alongside Vlad Guerrero Jr. What was that like for you, seeing what he was able to do? Having the MLB bloodlines like you had, how much were you guys able to feed off each other, not only in going through the process, but even in terms of your performance?
Bichette: It was an awesome experience to play with him my first year. To have someone—I was doing really well, obviously, and to have him kind of right on my tail, right behind me in everything, was good for me, and I think it was good for him, too. We pushed each other, and I think we learned a lot from each other also. So it was really, really a cool experience to play with him all year.
Callis: What do you have slated for your offseason.
Bichette: Oh man. I'll be in the gym, and I'll be at the beach. That's pretty much it.
Callis: That sounds like a rough life there, Bo.
Bichette: Yeah. I'm excited for it. But I'll be getting in the cage and on the field, probably, here in a month, and getting ready for 2018. (McMaster, Mayo, and Callis - mlb.com - 9/22/2017)
July 2018 : Bo represented the Blue Jays in the Futures All-Star game.
September 2018: Blue Jays prospect Bo Bichette has withdrawn from the upcoming Arizona Fall League because of lingering knee and elbow soreness. The AFL is set to get underway on October 9, and Bichette was originally expected to be one of the top prospects in attendance. Instead, the Blue Jays have decided to replace him with second baseman Santiago Espinal.
"Bo Bichette experienced some minor elbow and knee soreness at the end of the Eastern League playoffs that will require a conservative course of treatment and rest," a team spokesman said while reading a statement from the club. "It should not affect his offseason or 2019 Spring Training."
July 29, 2019: Bo brought an air of anticipation with him to the big leagues when he joined the Blue Jays’ roster ahead of its game against the Royals. Bichette came not only to play, but he came to win in his Major League debut, which is exactly what he did and what the team accomplished in a 7-3 victory to take the opener of a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium.
“It was really cool,” said Bichette, who went 1-for-4, including a single in his first at-bat. “It was an amazing stadium to make my debut in. Having Cavan and Vladdy near me definitely made it easier, made it feel kind of normal in a way. I’m sure I’ll be able to reflect on it and see how cool it was, but it really felt normal to me today.”
For all the excitement that built up ahead of his arrival, Bichette delivered immediately in the matchup, promptly logging a single to left field in his first plate appearance as a Major Leaguer. And though the young infielder was forced to head back to the dugout when a fielder’s choice followed, he used his impressive wheels and broke up what might have been a double play. (Brudnicki - mlb.com)
“My dad said, ‘Congrats BoBo, you’re a big leaguer,’” Bichette said after the win in his first Major League game. “That was cool.” The highly-anticipated arrival of the 21-year-old Bichette feels like a new beginning for a squad in need of rejuvenation.
“It feels that way, now that Bo’s here,” manager Charlie Montoyo said before the series opener. “That’s what I love about the job—the kids, the player development side of seeing guys get better. ... It’s fun to watch the kids. It’s a good day for the Blue Jays.”
Bichette’s father, Dante, was a big league outfielder for 14 seasons, earning All-Star selections with the Rockies in 1994-1996, and 1998, and pacing the Majors in hits twice, RBI once as well as winning the National League home run crown with 40 in 1995. The younger Bichette joins Vlad Guerrero, Jr., and Cavan Biggio as the third legacy player on Toronto’s Major League roster.
“This is something we’ve been talking about for a few years now, being up here together,” Bichette said. “Obviously, they’ve had a month or two under their belts, but I’m happy to join, happy to get it rolling and see what we can do.”
Climbing the Minor League ladder together, the trio envisioned their future together with the Blue Jays, looking forward to what they wanted to do when this day came. (Brudnicki - mlb.com - 7/29/2019)
“Bo was around with me a lot; he grew up on it … so he kind of gets it,” said former Major Leaguer and four-time All-Star outfielder Dante Bichette, Bo’s father at Bo's 8th Major League game. “He’s always been impressive. He does things, really, a lot better than I ever did. It’s been really cool to watch.”
The elder Bichette said the most pleasant surprise for him so far hasn’t been his son’s hot streak at the plate but his speed and defensive range. According to Dante, Bo’s speed was “below average” when he was drafted, and the younger Bichette spent countless hours in the gym to evolve into a more well-rounded threat.
“Now he’s … kind of a burner, really,” Dante Bichette said. “He’s got a pretty good range at shortstop now, and that’s really from just pure hard work. It was kind of neat to see.”
Just 21 years old, a learning curve is bound to emerge for Bichette eventually, but he is smart enough to know it’s impossible to keep up the torrid pace at which his career began. He committed a pair of fielding errors on Monday night but didn’t appear to let either affect him. Bichette’s home run came just five pitches after he booted a ground ball in the second, echoing his father’s sentiments about his son’s longstanding approach to the game.
“We’ve had a lot of talks about how [baseball] is a grind, and I think he gets it,” Dante said. “He tries to keep even keel, and really, he’s always been like that.”
Bichette said his upbringing combined with a perfectly timed debut to create a unique advantage to boost the start to his career. He’s also leaning on the same aspects as he continues to forge ahead.
“I think my dad helped me more with the transition to pro ball, just being ready from 18 years old to compete and to be ready and to prepare, to slow the game down in ways other 18-year-olds couldn’t,” Bichette said. “And then Vladdy [Guerrero Jr.] and Cavan [Biggio], and Lourdes [Gurriel Jr.], the pitchers. There are a lot of guys out there that I’ve played with this year and in the past three years. To have them out there and have them know what I’m capable of, there’s no feeling that I need to prove anything. It allows me to play pretty free and to have fun out there.” (Klemish - mlb.com - 8/5/2019)
2019 season: There wasn’t a lot to be excited about in Toronto this year after yet another losing season for the Blue Jays in 2018. But the arrival of two of their top prospects, Guerrero and Bichette, brought some array of hope. Bichette made an immediate impact upon his arrival in the big leagues, hitting a double in each of his first nine contests while recording a hit in 11 of his first 13 Major League games. In his 46 games since getting the call-up in July, Bichette is hitting .311 with 11 home runs and 21 RBIs while smacking 18 doubles.
His quick bat has encountered no problems adjusting to major-league pitching, showing the potential to be a future All-Star. Defensively, he’s a vacuum at shortstop, as he has committed just seven errors. He has all the tools to be a very good major leaguer, whether he’s stealing bases or hitting balls in the gaps.
Bichette is part of a unique trio in Toronto of players of former major leaguers. His dad, Dante Bichette, played in the bigs for many years, while Cavan Biggio is the son of Astros legend Craig Biggio. Lastly, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the son of one of the best hitters in the game, Vladimir Guerrero. Three players with Major League dads have never played together on the same team. They sure give the Blue Jays promise for the future.
Both Bo and his brother Dante Jr. have played for Brazil in the WBC due to their mother Mariana being a native of Porto Alegre, Brazil. Their maternal grandfather is of Chinese descent.
Feb 18, 2020: The value of clubhouse leadership is an unmeasurable metric in the great measured game of baseball. At times it's a buzzword, and other times it tips a team from defeat to victory, but rarely in quantifiable ways.
The clearest example from the Blue Jays' 2019 season came in late September, 2019 when Bo Bichette took a pitch off the brim of his helmet in Baltimore and later left the game with a concussion. Veteran first baseman Justin Smoak cornered Bichette in the dugout and made it clear to the rookie that he wouldn't impress anyone by toughing it out if he didn't feel right.
"I'm thankful that Smoak came up and said that to me, especially as the veteran voice," Bichette said soon after in New York. "Telling me to go say something, that kind of gave me the OK, I guess."
Now, Smoak and so many other veterans are gone. This Blue Jays team belongs, in every way, to the kids. Signing veteran pitchers like Hyun-Jin Ryu and Tanner Roark was done with their competitive window in mind, and the depth moves around them have been made with the goal of supporting or empowering the young core in Year 2.
That "veteran voice" will come from other places now, with more experienced pitchers in the rotation and players like Travis Shaw and Joe Panik joining the infield picture, but it's also the kids' turn. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will lead quietly and by example, something that should expand as the year goes on, but Bichette and Cavan Biggio have a particular balance of leadership styles up the middle.
"Biggio is more outspoken than Bo is," said manager Charlie Montoyo. "They both play the game the right way, which is beautiful, that's part of being a leader. But Biggio, in the clubhouse, he speaks more than Bo does. They are a little bit different when it comes to that, but when it comes to how they play, they're the same."
Bichette's all-effort style sets the attitude for this Blue Jays team, much like Josh Donaldson did at his peak in Toronto. Bichette will be the player that Blue Jays fans love, and rival fans love to hate. Biggio, like Montoyo says, has already been vocal when needed, whether it be in group settings or with individual teammates. Understanding these clubhouse dynamics so early in their career can be linked, fairly directly, to their MLB bloodlines. Sure, they were rookies in 2019, but they knew how this ecosystem operated.
The confidence required for these roles should show on the field, too, the organization expects. The biggest variable standing between the Blue Jays and a competitive season is the sophomore jump -- or slump -- of their young positional core.
This means different things for different players. For Guerrero, it means getting his body right and putting the ball in the air. For Bichette, it means adjusting to pitchers who now have a target on him as one of the game's best young offensive shortstops. Biggio, on the other hand, had the line of the day when asked about how he'll avoid a sophomore slump. Just like Bichette, he doesn't think this is all about the Blue Jays adjusting to the league. It's also about the league adjusting to them and their talent.
"Have you heard of the Madden Curse, too?" Biggio asked. "I think Patrick Mahomes didn't really care too much about that. I don't worry about those type of things. I just look forward to dominating each day and try to get better every day, and when games start, going out there and playing the hardest." (K Matheson - MLB.com - Feb 18, 2020)
When asked about scouting players and who his favorite was, Matt Bishoff said, "Bo [Bichette] could just hit. He was so good.
“The impressive thing about Bo was his maturation. I went from, in the summer of 2015 before the Draft, wondering where this guy was going to play defensively and hoping he could stay on the infield, to the next spring believing that this guy’s got a chance to play shortstop.
"That’s all credit to Bo’s makeup. He went from that summer being probably a 40 runner [on the 20-to-80 scouting scale] to flashing plus run times by Draft time. And watching his growth in pro ball, now he’s a 70 runner and an everyday shortstop. Those are things that speak to his character and his work ethic, because that’s the separator.
“The other big thing with Bo was seeing his two-strike approach evolve. It’s more exaggerated compared to any other player. ... I remember his first couple weeks of the [high school] season, he wasn’t struggling, but hitting .400 instead of .500, and he had struck out a couple times and he was taking massive swings with two strikes.
"Then I saw him again the next week and he had cut down his swing with two strikes, eliminated the leg kick, and I asked him about it. I don’t want to paraphrase him, but he basically said he wasn’t giving the pitchers enough credit and that he was too good to be striking out against his local competition. From that point on and for the rest of the season, I don’t even remember him striking out again. That’s how good he was. He’s a special kid.” (Brudnicki - mlb.com - 6/3/2020)
April, 14, 2021: Bo Bichette doesn’t even have one full season at the big league level under his belt, but he continues to topple records set by legends of the game. The 23-year-old Toronto Blue Jays shortstop hasn’t cracked 100 career MLB games yet, but he’s already racking up quite the resume.
With another clutch performance during the Blue Jays’ dramatic 5-4 walk-off win over the Yankees, Bichette added another notch to his belt.
Not only is he setting Blue Jays franchise records, he’s matched and broken some long-standing MLB records held by the most prestigious hitters in history. These are all the Blue Jays and MLB records Bichette has tied or broken so far.
1. Tied Joe DiMaggio for most multi extra-base hit games in his first 87 games -- On Wednesday afternoon, Bichette clubbed a pair of home runs, which was his third multi extra-base hit game of the season. That gave him 14 for his career, which tied Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio for the most multi extra-base hits through a hitter’s first 87 games.
2. Fastest Blue Jay to 100 career hits -- During opening weekend against the Yankees, Bichette secured his 100th career hit, making him the fastest Blue Jays player to reach 100 career hits. It only took Bichette 78 games to join the “century club”.
3. The only MLB hitter with 15 extra-base hits in his first 15 games -- Bichette made his MLB debut on July 29, 2019, and he embodied the term “hit the ground running.” By the time he wrapped his first series against the Kansas City Royals, he already had his first extra-base hit. Then he just kept on going.
Over the next 14 games, Bichette amassed an additional 14 extra-base hits, setting a new MLB record for 15 extra-base hits in his first 15 career games.
4. Tied Ted Williams with a nine-game extra-base hit streak as a rookie. Any time a hitter gets mentioned in the same breath as “Teddy Ballgame,” it’s the ultimate honour. It took 80 years, but Bichette tied Ted Williams by hitting an extra-base hit in nine consecutive games.
Williams debuted as a rookie with the Boston Red Sox in 1939 and collected an extra-base hit in his first nine games. 80 years later, Bichette did the same as a rookie with the Blue Jays.
5. MLB record with a double in nine consecutive games -- With the team well out of contention in the second half of 2019, the most exciting thing for Blue Jays fans to witness was Bichette’s “double watch.” He did the unthinkable, recording a double in nine straight games, setting a new MLB record.
6. Longest on-base streak to begin a Blue Jays career -- Bichette isn’t revered for his plate discipline – he’s more of a “grip it and rip it” kind of guy, but he takes his walks when he needs to. He supplemented his torrid hitting streak in August 2019 with a bunch of walks to put together a 17-game on-base streak to start his MLB career.
Here, Bichette surpassed Ted Williams (who “only” had a 15-game on-base streak to start his illustrious career). The MLB record belongs to current Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli, who kicked off his career with a run of 24 games getting on base.
7. Franchise record for most home runs through first 80 games -- Last week, Bichette toppled yet another Blue Jays franchise record when he hit the 18th home run of his Blue Jays career. He’s the fastest Blue Jays hitter to reach that mark (which took only 80 games) surpassing Fred McGriff, who held the previous record with 16 home runs in his first 80 games. (Ian Hunter)
|Birth City:||Orlando, FL|
|Draft:||Blue Jays #2 - 2016 - Out of high school (FL)|
Bichette has average power, but it’s his all-fields approach that is really the key to his success. He uses the middle of the field and is content to change his approach with two strikes. He has a good sense of the strike zone.
Bo’s swing starts with an extremely deep load and involving quite a few moving parts with an aggressive leg kick. He has a barred lead arm and a back elbow raise, allowing him to generate fierce bat speed and torque. He’s consistently on time and on plane through the hitting zone for a long time, which allows him to barrel balls at a high rate. (Spring, 2019)
Bichette has explosive bat speed and a rhythmic swing that generates a lot of torque. He swings hard—sometimes losing his balance—but he’s usually in sync, on time and on plane. He shortens his aggressive leg kick to a toe tap with two strikes.
With hitting mannerisms reminiscent of Josh Donaldson, Bichette gears up for his swing with a leg kick, cranks his back elbow with a deep load, then accelerates the bat head into the hitting zone thanks to terrific bat speed. He keeps the barrel on plane through the zone for a long time, showing a mature approach and polished feel to hit. He hits to all fields and drives the ball with plus power. (Ben Badler - BA - Spring, 2017 and 2018)
Bo's bat path is surprisingly level, and he shows mature timing. His swing allows him to barrel line drives to the opposite field.
He makes in-game adjustments—rare for a guy only a year out of high school. (Spring 2017)
Bichette resembles a lumberjack in a forest at the plate. He is up there to do damage. He has vicious bat speed from the right side of the plate and unleashed controlled violence in his swing. He drives the ball for plus power with the ability to square up different types off pitches and control the strike zone.
“When I’m not as aggressive as I want to be, I start swinging at bad pitches. Being aggressive helps me be more selective as a hitter—it’s a weird combination, but it makes me be in the strike zone.”
In 2017, Bo was emphasizing his two-strike approach.
“I think that’s probably the most important thing in baseball,” Bichette said. “If you can squeak out a few hits with two strikes, that can really make a difference in your season. Everybody can hit without two strikes. Two strikes is definitely tough, (because) these pitchers can put you away.”
Toward that end, his approach down in the count is to “take away my leg kick and let the ball get as deep as I can. That helps me with my plate discipline and picking up breaking balls.”
That doesn’t mean Bichette will be altering the big swing that’s carried him so far.
“I’m not the biggest guy around. I’m barely 6 feet and 190 pounds, so I’ve got to get everything I can out of my body,” Bichette said. “So I let myself be natural and swing as hard as I can.”
Several scouts didn't like the noise in his swing, worrying that the deep load he takes to start his swing would leave him vulnerable to advanced pitching and premium velocity. (April, 2017)
But several scouts were wrong. In 2017, in 70 games in the Midwest League Bo hit .384 to force his way to high Class A Dunedin, where he just kept hitting, posting a .323 batting average.
In 2017 as a 19-year-old, Bo is the first teen to lead the Minors in hitting (.362) since 1963 and his .988 OPS placed him second.
October 2017: Bichette was named Toronto's Minor League Hitter of the Year by MLBPipeline.com.
2018 Season: Bichette got a bit overaggressive early in the 2018 season but worked with his coaching staff to better learn which pitches he can drive and which ones he’s better leaving alone.
August 5, 2019: A home run marked the ninth extra-base hit in Bo Bichette’s first eight games, tying him with Alvin Davis (1984) and Trevor Story (2016) for the most in MLB history.
August 6, 2019: Bichette moved into a tie with the Twins’ Max Kepler for the second-longest doubles streak in the Majors this season, but he wasn’t done there. The Blue Jays’ shortstop parked the second pitch of the third inning beyond the right-field wall for his third home run of the year to pad Toronto’s lead.
Four pitches, two extra-base hits, two runs scored—one heck of a homecoming party.
August 7, 2019: Bo is the first to admit that the beginning of his Major League career has been quite the whirlwind.
This time, he doubled to left in the third inning to set the franchise record for the longest doubles streak at eight games. With the two-out stroke to the left-field corner against the Rays, Bichette passed Carlos Delgado’s seven-game streak in 2000.
“He’s kind of a doubles guy, and I think as he gets older and stronger, those will turn into home runs,” said Major League coach John Schneider, who managed Bichette at Class A Advanced Dunedin in 2017 and Double-A New Hampshire in 2018. “He’s got a knack for finding the barrel, he’s got a knack for getting hits. He’s got a great two-strike approach. He’s kind of what you’re shooting for as a hitter.”
Bichette also extended his career-opening hit streak to 10 games, breaking his own franchise record set the day before.
Not only did his talent and hard work earn him a fast track through the Minor Leagues, they have transferred to the Major League stage in such a way that has been impossible to ignore. Each game against the Rays brought either a record-tying or record-breaking performance from Bichette, who not only has a hit in every career game but has posted multiple-hit games in 8 of 10.
“It’s cool,” Bichette said. “Anytime you can set records, it’s a cool feeling. I’m excited with how I’ve played, and hopefully, I continue to play well and continue to break more records.”
On August 6, Bichette became the only player in MLB history to record 10 extra-base hits in his first 9 games. And he set a Blue Jays record with 17 hits in his first nine career games. (Klemish - mlb.com)
2019 Season: Hitting .311 with 11 home runs and a .930 OPS, Bichette played with an energy and confidence that brought back memories of Josh Donaldson when he was a Blue Jay. Bichette, 22, is locked in as the franchise shortstop, with an ability to be one of the game’s best hitters at the position.
- Since Bo debuted in late 2019, he has been in a full sprint. It still seems that each week, Bichette is setting a Blue Jays record for being the youngest or the fastest player to reach a milestone. Bichette's two-homer game on April 6, 2021, against the Rangers at Globe Life Field gave him 18 for his career, the most by a Toronto hitter over his first 80 games. As usual, Bichette passed an impressive name, topping Fred McGriff's 16. His 103 hits through 80 games are also a club record, topping Alex Rios' 93. (mlb.com - 4/7/2021)
- As of the start of the 2021 season, Bo's career Major League stats were a .307 batting average, 16 home runs and 98 hits with 44 RBI in 319 at-bats.)
The Blue Jays plan to develop Bo as a shortstop, where he has a good internal clock, a solid arm and makes plays on the run.
Scouts expect that Bichette will move off shortstop to second base, where he can be an average defender with an average arm and average range. Or maybe even third base.
However, Bichette has worked diligently on his conditioning and fielding and now projects as an average shortstop. He has good body control, quick footwork and ranges well up the middle. He has a tick above-average arm, though he gets tested on balls to his right. (Ben Badler - BA Prospect Handbook - Spring, 2019)
In 2017, Bo looked pretty doggone good at shortstop. Though he lacks the range and footwork of a premium middle infielder, he is fundamentally sound and has an above-average arm for the position. He gets a 40 or 45 grade, which is near-average for a big league shortstop.
On defense, there’s still a split camp whether he can stay at shortstop or will have to move over to second base. His detractors point to his inconsistent arm slots he uses on throws, which affects his arm strength.
The Blue Jays have worked with Bichette to iron out the kinks in the way he throws the ball across the diamond. (Spring, 2019)
- Bo is an average, 50 grade runner, on the 20-80 scouting scale. He has just average speed, but he’s become such an aggressive and intelligent runner that he is a successful base-stealer.
July 2016: Bichette missed five weeks with appendicitis, though he didn’t require surgery.
April 23, 2019: Bichette is out for an indefinite period of time after he was diagnosed with a broken left hand.
Toronto announced that Bichette has a fractured second metacarpal in his left hand.
April 26-June 12, 2019: After the broken hand, Bo returned to action after a bit over six weeks.
September 21, 2019: Bo was on the IL with a concussion. Bichette took a 93 mph pitch off the beak of his helmet against the Orioles.
Bichette showed zero symptoms initially and remained in that game, but things started to slow down as he ran the bases and played the field. Then, after striking out on four pitches in his next at-bat, Justin Smoak cornered Bichette in the dugout and asked him if he was OK.
Having never experienced a diagnosed head injury, Bichette recognized that he wasn’t feeling right, but there was a hesitation that he was overthinking or worrying his way into feeling the symptoms. Smoak made it clear to the 21-year-old that, while some things can be played through, this wasn’t one. Bichette obliged, and he immediately went to the team’s training staff, who had been monitoring him throughout.
Head athletic trainer Nikki Huffman put Bichette through a lengthy initial evaluation to establish his baselines, and he will continue to be tested every day. Huffman noted that Bichette is improving, and he feels the same, but there are still plenty of hurdles to clear before he can return to the field.
Aug. 16-Sept 12, 2020: Bichette was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right knee sprain.
Sept 5, 2020: Prior to the doubleheader against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, manager Charlie Montoyo shared some positive news about shortstop Bo Bichette, who’s been out with a sprained right knee but ramped up his rehab work recently.
“He’s doing a lot better than we thought he was going to be at this time,” Montoyo said. “He was running the bases yesterday and hit BP, then tomorrow we’re going to have a simulated game for him.”
Bichette’s been upping the intensity over the past few days and, even though he’s been seen wearing a brace on that right knee, he appears to be moving freely in sprints and fielding drills. (K Matheson - MLB.com - Sept 5, 2020)
Sept 8, 2020: Blue Jays infielder Bo Bichette (right knee sprain) took five at-bats as a DH in a simulated game at Toronto’s alternate training site in Rochester, N.Y., on Monday. Manager Charlie Montoyo said that Bichette felt good and lined a few balls back up the middle, but his next challenge will be playing the field.
Bichette is expected to play about five innings of defence, at which point the Blue Jays will have a clearer picture on his return. This coming weekend against the Mets would be ideal, but they’ll have to play it slow.
“I’m optimistic,” Montoyo said. “I don’t know when, because he’s going to have to go day to day and see how he feels."