Monday, the Toronto Blue Jays will select the contract of the club’s top minor-league prospect — a 21-year-old who plays a premium defensive position and has put up an .894 OPS and 147 wRC+ since making his professional debut three seasons ago. A consensus top-10 prospect in the game who has hit the most doubles (102) of any minor-league player across affiliated baseball since 2017. A confident, exciting athlete who the Blue Jays envision playing every day at shortstop and potentially serving as the club’s leadoff hitter for years to come — one of the most important pieces of Toronto’s ongoing rebuild.
Feels like this should be more of a story, no? But for Bo Bichette’s MLB debut to be shrouded by the complicated departure of Marcus Stroman, a similarly self-assured and thrilling athlete who was once that highly-touted prospect himself, is almost perfectly fitting. It’s exactly how things have gone for Bichette at every step of his nearly four-year journey to the majors.
For one reason or another, and by no fault of his own, Bichette has been perpetually overlooked since he joined the Blue Jays in 2016. He was the organization’s third pick — taken in the second round at No. 66 overall — in that June’s draft, behind T.J. Zeuch and J.B. Woodman. Zeuch, a college right-hander, was brought to Toronto on a press tour and ended up playing full-season ball that year with class-A Lansing. Woodman, another college player ended up in full-season ball as well (he’s now out of baseball entirely). The high-schooler Bichette, meanwhile, was sent off to play rookie ball in the Gulf Coast League, where he had multiple hits in half of his 22 games.