The Tampa Bay Rays will host the Toronto Blue Jays early next month, a weekday series that might not normally attract much excitement beyond the draw of a divisional matchup. This series, however, could feature a familiar face for St. Petersburg.
Bo Bichette, a product of Lakewood High School, is the son of four-time All-Star Dante Bichette. Now, with the promotion of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bichette is the top prospect in the Blue Jays’ minor-league system, per MLB Pipeline.
Bichette, a 21-year-old shortstop, was homeschooled while playing for Lakewood. He tested out other programs like IMG Academy, but decided to remain at his local high school. After Bichette’s senior year in 2016, the Blue Jays selected him in the second round of the MLB draft.
Three years after that draft, Bichette is raking with Triple-A Buffalo, a performance that could knock down the door to Toronto. Entering play on Thursday, Bichette owns a .900 OPS in 38 games with Buffalo. He could soon follow Guerrero Jr. and Cavan Biggio, another pair of rookies with major league lineage, to the Blue Jays.
His promotion could come when major-league rosters expand to 40 players at the start of September. Or it could come when the fourth-place Blue Jays decide to ship off veteran players before the July 31 trade deadline.
Toronto, 24.5 games behind the division-leading Yankees and 17.5 games behind the Indians in the wild card chase, has several veteran players that could be shipped to contenders this month. While rumors swirl around Marcus Stroman and Ken Giles, shortstop Freddy Galvis may also be on the trading block.
Galvis, 29, signed a one-year contract with a team option for 2020 in the most recent offseason. In his stop-gap role with Toronto, Galvis is boasting career bests with a .270 average, .309 on-base percentage and .467 slugging percentage. His 15 home runs are the second-best mark of his career, trailing the 20 he hit with the Phillies in 2016.
Galvis’ strong individual season and modest salary could inspire Toronto to move him to a contender, paving the way for a Bichette call-up.
If Bichette gets the call after the trade deadline, he will join the Toronto roster in time for his homecoming. The Rays host the Blue Jays for a three-game series Aug. 5-7 in St. Petersburg