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The season that was: Bo Bichette

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into the 2019 season Bo Bichette was number 3 on our top 40 Blue Jays prospects. I wrote:

Can you imagine how thrilled we would be to have Bo in our system if we didn’t have Vlad overshadowing him? We’d be complaining about the Jays not planning on him making the team this spring. We would be dreaming on his career. We would be asking ‘when was the last time we had a top ten MLB prospect. And a middle infield prospect at that. But, with Vlad, Bo is almost an afterthought.

Anyway, Bo was the youngest player to play the full season in the Eastern League. He hit .286/.343/.453 with 11 home runs, 48 walks and 101 strikeouts in 595 at bats.

He got better as the season went on, in the first half he hit .264/.322/.424, then .326/.383/.505 in the second half.

There were some questions about his defense but even if there was a concern he might have to be moved to second, we couldn’t wait to see him in Toronto. And there was a bit of worry that his swing was unorthodox, but I really like seeing guys do things a little differently.

He started the season in Buffalo and then was hurt at the end of April, missing a month and a half of playing time.

56 games into his Bisons season, he was hitting .275/.333/.473 with 8 home runs which earned him a call to Toronto where he hit

Standard Batting
46 212 32 61 18 0 11 21 4 4 14 50 .311 .358 .571 .930 144
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 11/26/2019.

Good for a 2.1 bWAR and a 1.7 fWAR, making him worth $13.9 million to the Jays.

He had a .384 wOBA and a 142 wRC+.

Bo’s walk rate was 6.6% (team average: 8.4%) and strikeout rate was 23.6% (team average: 24.9%).

His line drive rate was 22.6% (team average 21.0%), ground ball rate 43.8% (team average 39.8%) and fly ball rate 33.6% (team average 39.2%). His fly balls were leaving the park 22.4% of the time (team average 15.8%).

His hard contact rate was 32.7% (team average 37.9%) and soft contact rate was 15.6% (team average 17.9).

His BABIP was .368 (team average: .280).

Bo hit left-handers (.368/413/.667) better than righties (.288/.336/.532).

He hit much better on the road (.346/.397/.664) as on the home (.270/313/461).

He had troubles with runners in scoring position (.188/.250/.281).

Bo by month:

  • July: .462/.500/.769 with 1 home run, 1 walk and 1 strikeout in 3 games.
  • August: .325/.357/.617 with 7 home runs, 6 walks and 34 strikeouts in 27 games.
  • September: .254/.333/.444 with 3 home runs, 7 walks and 15 strikeouts in 16 games.

Defensively, he had a -5.2 UZR/150. He made 7 errors and had a .959 fielding average. I thought his defense looked pretty good. I’ll expect that next year his UZR will be slightly above 0.

FanGraphs has him at -1.2 rounds compared to the average baserunner. He was 4 for 8 as a basestealer. He’s gotta do better than that.

In games he started Bo hit:

1st: 45 games.

6th: 1 game.

The Jays were 22-24 in games he started.

His longest hitting streak was 11 games, longest on base streak was 17 games. The longest he went without a home run was 8 games.

The BABIP suggests he was getting slightly lucky on balls in play. There isn’t much in his batted ball rates that says that he should have a better than average BABIP.

He hit terrific when he was first called up and less terrific as the season went on, making it seem like pitchers made an adjustment to him, he’ll have to make an adjustment back, but we are told over and over that this is part of being in the majors.

His RISP numbers aren’t something that will carry over to next year. He’ll hit better with runners in scoring position.

I don’t like Bo hitting leadoff, I’d rather he hit in the middle of the order. I’d like Cavan Biggio hitting leadoff. But I understand that when Bo came up he was so hot that I was with Charlie’s plan of getting him as many at bats as possible.

Steam projects him to hit .274/.327/.462 with 20 home runs and a 3.2 WAR. I’d like to think he’ll hit a bit better than that, but a 3.2 WAR sounds pretty good.


If the over/under on Bo’s 2020 fWAR is 3.2 I’d take the

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I’m looking forward to watching his career. Baseball Reference tells us that Bo was the 5th youngest player in the AL last year (and third youngest on the Blue Jays). I’m hoping he has a long career with the Jays.