Saturday, February 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Lakewood High product Bo Bichette returns to bay area with Dunedin Blue Jays

CLEARWATER — Bo is back.

A little more than a year after being picked by the Blue Jays in the second round of the 2016 draft, former Lakewood standout Bo Bichette is back in Tampa Bay. He made his debut with advanced Class A Dunedin on Monday night at Spectrum Field. He was the DH and batted second.

Bichette was 0-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts in the Blue Jays' 3-1 loss to the Clearwater Threshers and is still awaiting his first hit for Dunedin. He had to wait a while to make his Florida State League debut. The game was delayed more than an hour due to rain and lightning.

"This is awesome," said Bichette, who will live in his parents' home on Tierra Verde while he is with Dunedin. "I get to sleep in my own bed. Couldn't ask for anything better right now."

It has been a whirlwind few days for Bichette. He was in Miami on Sunday for the All-Star Futures Game, which is a showcase for some of baseball's top prospects. From there he joined Dunedin after being promoted from Lansing in the Midwest League. After today's off day, Bichette is expected to play mainly at shortstop for the rest of the FSL season.

At 19, he is the second youngest player on the Dunedin roster behind 18-year-old Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who is the son of former longtime major-leaguer Vladimir Guerrero and also a callup from Lansing. FSL rosters are generally full of former college players or those with three or four years of minor-league experience.

Youth has not been a problem so far for Bichette.

Ever since he put on a Blue Jays uniform, he has been hitting. He started with the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays last season and hit .427 in 22 games. In 70 games with Lansing, he hit .384, and for much of the season his average hovered around .400.

In 92 minor-league games, Bichette has a .393 average and 14 home runs.

As a senior at Lakewood, Bichette hit .569 with 13 home runs and was the Tampa Bay Times player of the year. He was also named the Gatorade player of the year for Florida and Florida's Mr. Baseball.

"At the beginning of the year I didn't think I'd be here," Bichette said. "But the way I've been playing I thought there was a chance. It's a little more advanced up here, but if I stay with my approach I'll be fine."

Bichette, who is the son of former big-league outfielder Dante Bichette, is one of three sons of former major-leaguers on the Dunedin roster. Aside from Bichette and Guerrero, third baseman Cavan Biggio is the son of Astros Hall of Famer Craig Biggio.

"So far it's been really fun," Bichette said. "I couldn't have ask for anything better."

Guerrero, like Bichette, played in Sunday's All-Star Futures Game, singling twice and scoring. He's widely regarded as one of the best prospects in minor-league baseball, and Bichette has quickly climbed prospect lists as well.

In Baseball America's midseason top 100, which was revealed last week, Guerrero was named the No. 2 prospect in all of baseball. Bichette climbed from 93 before the season to 44.

 
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