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The season that was: Bo Bichette

Taking a look at Bichette’s 2022 season.

American League Wild Card Series: Seattle Mariners v. Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Thomas Skrlj/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Coming into Bo Bichette’s fourth MLB season, we pretty much knew what we had. A guy that will:

  • Get us 25ish home runs.
  • Chase too many pitches off the plate.
  • Not walk as much as we’d like.
  • Steal some bases.
  • Get his hits.
  • Maybe not be as good defensively as we would like at short.
  • Have incredible hair.

We pretty much got the season we expected (if without the consistency that we would have hoped for):

Standard Batting
24 159 697 652 91 189 43 1 24 93 13 8 41 155 .290 .333 .469 .802 127 21 2 2
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 10/22/2022.

Baseball Reference had him at a 3.6 WAR (down from 5.9). FanGraphs at 4.5, giving him a value of $35.6 million to the Jays.

He had a .347 wOBA and a 129 wRC+, both numbers very close to last year’s. In his four seasons, he’s had wRC+ totals of 143, 120, 122 and 129. Terrific numbers for a middle infielder.

Bo’s walk rate was 5.8% (up a tick from 5.7 last year) and his strikeout rate was 22.2% (up from 19.9).

His line-drive rate was 20.4% (about the same as last year’s 20.5), ground ball rate was 48.7% (near last year’s 49.1%) and fly-ball rate 30.9% (near his 30.4 from last year). His fly balls were leaving the park 15.6% of the time (down from 18.8%).

Bichette’s soft contact was down (10.6% from 14.8) and hard contact was down a bit too (34.9% from 36.3).

And his BABIP was much the same as last year (.347 up from .339).

He hit right-handers (.295/.335/.470) better than left-handers (.262/.322/.467). Last year he was much much better vs. LHP.

Bo hit better on the road (.297/.334/.510) than at home (.282/.331/.424).

With RISP he hit .252/.313/.465.

Because it is a thing Buck and Pat talk about (though they seemed to talk about it less as the season went on), I’ll note that he hit .168/.228/.261 with two strikes.

And, as I'm sure you know, he hit much much better in the second half of the season (.337/.378/.543) than in the first half (.257/.302/.418).

Bo by month:

  • April: .213/.237/.298 with 2 home runs, 3 walks and 26 strikeouts in 22 games.
  • May: .296/.339/.537 with 5 home runs, 7 walks and 27 strikeouts in 26 games.
  • June: .250/.310/.414 with 4 home runs, 10 walks and 31 strikeouts in 27 games.
  • July: .273/.315/.404 with 2 home runs, 7 walks and 25 strikeouts in 26 games.
  • August: .265/.312/.431 with 3 home runs, 6 walks and 26 strikeouts in 26 games.
  • September: .406/.444/.662 with 7 home runs, 8 walks and 20 strikeouts in 32 games.

He finished strong last year too.

Defensively, he had the worst UZR per 150 that I can remember, -28.0 UZR/150 (the second-worst AL shortstop was Javier Baez at -14.6).

Outs Above Average had him at a -7, which wasn’t the worst in the AL, J.P. Crawford had an -11.

Bo made some errors. 23 in total, for a .958 FA (the average SS had a .972). 11 of his errors were fielding errors, 12 were throwing errors. Pretty evenly divided.

He made a lot of errors, 24, 11 fielding and 13 throwing for a .957 FA (the league average is .974 for SS). They seemed to come in spurts. He had just one error in August.

He played 157 games at short, 1 at DH.

As a baserunner, Bo was -2.7 runs above average. With his speed, that’s hard to believe. But he stole 13 bases and was caught 8 times, a rate that makes me wish he didn’t try. In the past, he’s been a good percentage base stealer. I don’t know what happened this year.

Where Bo hit in the batting order:

  • 2nd, 91 games.
  • 3rd, 20 games.
  • 4th, 22 games.
  • 5th, 19 games.
  • 6th, 5 games.
  • 7th, 1 game.

His longest hitting streak was 13 games, the longest on-base streak was 18 games. The longest he went without a home run was 21 games.

His favourite team to face? He hit .385/.407/.808 in 6 games against the Rangers.

Least favourite? Brewers .077/.077/.333.

Yes, I think they should move him to second base. They would need to do it off the start of spring training. It wouldn’t be fair to move him mid-season. I think he could be an excellent defensive second baseman. Or he could be a good center fielder? We could use someone to play center and move Springer to a corner spot.

It would work best if they picked up an established shortstop. I think they would be better off with Espinal at short and Bichette as second, but then Espinal would have to play every day.

Bo seems to go through stretches with no errors and then will have 5 in a week. I guess batters can be streaky, why can’t fielders?

Bo was having a poor year and then saved it with an amazing September (he had a pretty good May too). sometimes I wonder what is better for a team. Presuming they both end at roughly the same numbers, which is better:

  • A player who is fairly average all season and then has one amazing month.
  • Or a guy who is a little bit better than average all season long,

Without Bo’s terrific September we wouldn’t have made the playoffs. But then if had been better all season long, maybe we wouldn’t have had to have a good run at the end to get our spot.

And on the subject of him playing every day, I felt he would be better off with a rest day now and then. But then he had a great finish to the season, so maybe playing every day didn’t wear him out. I still think a day off every couple of weeks would help him out, but who knows?

He seems to expand the strike zone with two strikes. I keep thinking that this is something that would be fixable, but it hasn’t happened yet, so perhaps it isn’t.

I tend to think I’m too negative toward Bo....and then I read what other people say. People seem to diagnose him with all sorts of character flaws. I don’t understand any of it. I’ve seen people complain about his face, which really is weird to me. I don’t know if we think that baseball is so easy that unless someone has a flaw of some sort they would hit .400 and never strike out.

I really only see a guy who works hard and tries his best.

Before the season I ask:

  • What Bo’s bWAR would be. 15% got it right (between 3 and 3.9).
  • If he would be a 20/20 guy, 23% were right, he wasn’t.
  • And most of us (66%) thought Bo would hit second this season. And he did for most of the season.
  • 71% of us said that Bo was their favourite player (I don’t think the answer would be the same right now.

Bo finished his age-24 season with 69 home runs. His dad didn’t make it to the majors until he was 24, only playing 21 games that year, without a home run, so Bo has a big lead on dad.

The other question I’ve always wondered about is which of Bo or Vlad would finish his career with a higher WAR value. At the moment Vlad is leading in bWAR 13.5 to 12.9. But Bo is leading in fWAR 11.8 to 9.0.


For his 2202 season I’d grade Bo Bichette an

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