Bichette to skip AFL with minor injuries

Blue Jays No. 2 prospect experienced elbow, knee soreness

Bo Bichette batted .339/.402/.475 in August for his best offensive month of the season. (Rick Nelson/MiLB.com)

By Andrew Battifarano / MiLB.com | September 28, 2018 7:20 PM

Bo Bichette's longest season in professional baseball culminated in a championship, but that will be the last time he touches the field in 2018. 

MLB.com's No. 9 overall prospect was dropped from the Arizona Fall League roster due to minor elbow and knee soreness, the Blue Jays announced Friday. Blue Jays No. 22 prospect Santiago Espinal, another infielder, took Bichette's spot on the Surprise Saguaros.

Video: Bichette's two-run blast for New Hampshire

"Bo Bichette experienced some minor elbow and knee soreness at the end of the Eastern League playoffs that will require a conservative course of treatment and rest," Blue Jays vice president of baseball media Jay Stenhouse told TSN on Friday. "It should not affect his offseason or Spring Training."

A year after leading the Minor Leagues with a .362 average, Bichette moved up to Double-A in 2018 and compiled a .286/.343/.453 slash line with 11 homers, 74 RBIs and an Eastern League-leading 43 doubles. The 20-year-old hit .264 through his first 85 games on the circuit but boosted his numbers after All-Star break as he batted .326 with an .888 OPS over the final 46 contests.

Trending in the right direction heading into the postseason, Bichette kept up the pace by going 9-for-26 (.346) in six playoff contests to help lead New Hampshire to the Eastern League crown. 

In July, the second-ranked Blue Jays prospect said adjustments to his swing and overall approach helped him kick his season into gear. 

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"I think maybe I gave pitchers too much credit, thinking they'd exploit [my athleticism in the box]," he said on July 28. "People tell me all the time my swing's too noisy and stuff. I think just a combination of everything kind of made me feel like I needed to quiet things down. Recently, I just kind of realized that's what made me special; I do things a little bit differently. ... I decided to start going back to my old self and just kind of having fun up there and swinging as hard as I can. It's pretty immediately made some impact." 

Espinal, acquired from the Red Sox before the non-waiver Trade Deadline for Steve Pearce, hit .278 in 59 games between Class A Advanced Dunedin and New Hampshire after the deal.

Andrew Battifarano is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter, @AndrewAtBatt. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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