1. Sports

Lakewood's Bo Bichette, East Lake's Travis MacGregor drafted in second round

Lakewood SS Bo Bichette is taken 66th overall by the Blue Jays.
Published Jun. 10, 2016

The 13-year Pinellas County draft drought ended right before midnight Thursday.

Lakewood's Bo Bichette, 18, was selected 66th overall by the Blue Jays in Thursday night's Major League Baseball first-year player draft.

Bichette is the first Pinellas high school player to be taken that high in the draft since Dunedin's Ryan Harvey went sixth overall to the Cubs in 2003. He is also the first player from Lakewood ever drafted in the first two rounds.

Just two picks later, East Lake High 6-foot-3 right-hander Travis MacGregor was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates with the 68th overall pick.

"The Blue Jays were the top team that I wanted to go to,'' Bichette said. "They were the best as far as player development.

"I may end up taking a little less (in signing bonus), but this is the best fit. I actually turned down about four offers earlier in the draft because they weren't good fits."

The 6-foot, 185-pound Bichette had an impressive senior season.

He hit .569 with 13 home runs, which ranked first in the state and tied for seventh nationally according to MaxPreps. In his three years at Lakewood, Bichette hit 24 home runs, despite playing only seven games last season due to an elbow injury. He never had a batting average lower than .492.

MacGregor, a Clemson commit, was 7-1 for the Eagles this season with a 0.92 ERA and 82 strikeouts. Armed with a low-90s fastball, MacGregor said earlier this week that he was fine with whatever happened on draft day.

"It's hard to lose in this one," the 18-year-old said.

Bichette, who has orally committed to Arizona State, was named the Gatorade/USA Today and Florida Dairy Farmers' Florida Player of the Year. The son of former major-leaguer Dante Bichette, Bo could join older brother Dante Jr. as a professional player. Dante Jr. was taken 51st overall by the Yankees in 2011.

"He's just a special kid," Lakewood coach Jayce Ganchou said. "He's the complete package."

Bichette said he will bypass college and sign with Toronto.

Bichette and MacGregor join a string of recent Tampa Bay high school players taken on the first day: Plant's Kyle Tucker (fifth, Astros) and Jake Woodford (39th, Cardinals) in 2015; Hernando's Christian Arroyo (25th, Giants), Durant's Tyler Danish (55th, White Sox), Gaither's Oscar Mercado (57th, Cardinals) and Wharton's Tucker Neuhaus (72nd, Brewers) in 2013; Jesuit's Lance McCullers (41st, Astros) and King's Keon Barnum (48th, White Sox) in 2012; and Alonso's Jose Fernandez (14th, Marlins) in 2011.

Contact Rodney Page at Follow @RodneyHomeTeam.


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