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The season that was: Bo Bichette

Taking a look at Bichette’s 2023 season.

Wild Card Series - Toronto Blue Jays v. Minnesota Twins - Game Two Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Last year I said:

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.

And we knew much the same this year, though his defense seemed to take a major step to the better.

In 2022, Bo started slow but had a terrific September, which brought his numbers back up to his normal range. Until September, he was so many people’s pick to be traded. I’m always surprised at the number of fans who want to trade low. It makes me wonder how they do on the stock market.

This year?

Standard Batting
25 135 601 571 69 175 30 3 20 73 5 3 27 115 .306 .339 .475 .814 123 271 14 2 1
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 10/26/2023.

Generally, I wait until finishing all the stats before editorial comments, but just one Sac Fly? That seems low for a guy like Bo, but he’s only had 8 career.

Baseball Reference had him at a 4.8 WAR (up from 3.6). FanGraphs at 3.8 (down from 4.5), giving him a value of $30.7 million to the Jays. It is strange that one is higher than last year and one is lower.

He had a .349 wOBA and a 125 wRC+, both numbers very close to last year’s. In his five seasons, he’s had wRC+ totals of 143, 120, 122, 129 and 125. Consistency is a virtue.

Bo’s walk rate was 4.5% (down from 5.9% last year) and his strikeout rate was 19.1% (down from 22.2%).

His line-drive rate was 27.4% (up a lot from his 20.4 last year), ground ball rate was 46.1% (down from last year’s 48.7) and fly-ball rate 26.5% (down from 30.9 last year). His fly balls were leaving the park 16.5% (up from 15.6).

And his BABIP was much the same as last year (.355 from .347).

Last year Bo was better against right-handers. This year he was back to the normal splits (.303/.333/.464 vs. RHP, .323/.368/.525 vs. LHP).

Bo hit better on the road (.325/.354/.505) than at home (.287/.324/.443). He’s been better on the road for his career, but not with this big a spread generally.

With RISP he hit .364/.387/.542.

After two strikes: .210/.247/.275. It seemed to be less of a thing that Buck talked about this year.

And, as I’m sure you know, he hit much much better in the first half of the season (.317/.346/.496) than in the second half (.285/.327/.430), the flip of last year.

Bo by month:

  • April: .317/.354.508 with 6 home runs, 6 walks, and 19 strikeouts in 28 games.
  • May: .350/.386/.542 with 5 home runs, 7 walks and 18 strikeouts in 28 games.
  • June: .278/.291/.444 with 3 home runs, 2 walks and 25 strikeouts in 26 games.
  • July: .337/.374/.475 with 5 home runs, 5 walks and 24 strikeouts in 24 games.
  • August: .229/.229/.400 with 1 home run, 0 walks and 8 strikeouts in 8 games.
  • September: .264/.316/.402 with 2 home runs, 7 walks and 21 strikeouts in 21 games.

The little injuries seemed to drag down his numbers. I say little injuries, but nothing is a little injury when it happens to you.

Defensively, after a terrible UZR/150 last year, he had a good one this year, 4.6.

Outs Above Average had him at a -3, which was better than last year, but not as good as the eye test.

Bo cut down on the errors, last year he had 23 errors, and this year just 8. His FA was .958 last year, and .980 this year. In the past the errors came in bunches, this year they didn’t.

He played 130 games at short, and 5 as DH.

As a baserunner, Bo was -1.7 runs above average. He had one season above average and now four seasons below. The season he was above average, he stole 25 bases and caught once. This year, he stole 5 bases and caught 3 times. Considering base stealing was way up this year, It looks like he’s made a decision not to steal as much, which is likely a good choice.

Where Bo hit in the batting order:

  • 1st: 9 games.
  • 2nd: 115 games.
  • 3rd: 7 games.
  • 4th: 3 games.

The Jays were 71-62 in games he started. His longest hit streak was 13 games. The longest without a home run was 19 games.

Favourite team to face? Angels:.423/.483/.769 with 2 home runs in 6 games.

Least Favourite? Mariners: .071/.071/.179 in 6 games.

Compared to last year, he went about it a different way (starting hot) than last year, (always start hot, even at the end of the year, people were talking about what a great season he was having) but ended up at pretty much the same spot. His OPS by season starting in 2019: 144, 127, 121, 128, and 123. We pretty much know what we are going to get from him.

It is interesting to have a player who is so consistent from year to year and yet has such big month to month swings.

It would be nice if he walked more, but that’s an evergreen statement. We know what we will get from him, and that’s good. Some things are going to drive us crazy. He will chase off the plate (the .214/.400/.286 line after getting to a full count seems way low), but that’s the price we pay for an SS who gets us a 3.5-5.5 WAR each year.

I guess I wonder if his numbers will stay in the same range as he loses a little bat speed, but maybe he’ll make up for that with an improved eye.

His defense looked much better this season. I’m still thinking that, at some point, he should move to second base, but it doesn’t seem like something that needs to happen right now anymore.

When Bo was having a poor start to the season, I had so many people tell me he should be traded. No one told me that this year. If you thought he should be traded, you should have wanted it after his great May. We have a pretty good handle on the player he is. Sell high not low. But then, hold on to Bo.

Comparing Bo to his dad. Bo has 89 home runs and a 17.5 bWAR after his age-25 season. His dad had just 196 PA after his age 25 season, with 3 home runs and a -.3 bWAR.

Before the season, we asked:

  • In 2023, Bo Bichette’s bWAR will be: 35% of us were right, guessing between 4 and 5. If we had said fWAR, 36% of us would be right.
  • Where will Bo hit in the lineup? 55% of us were right, saying second.
  • Will Bo have a long-term extension before the end of the season? 67% were right in saying no.
  • And 94% were right, saying that Bo wouldn’t get his hair cut shorter.


For his 2203 season I’d grade Bo Bichette an

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