In their race to the big leagues, former top Blue Jays prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. got the head start on Bo Bichette. Since returning from the injured list, Toronto's current top talent is doing everything he can to meet Guerrero there.
Bichette notched four hits for the first time in Triple-A, helping to lead Buffalo to an 8-1 win over Norfolk on Sunday afternoon.
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"His work has been awesome from tee work to flips to [batting practice] to everything he's been doing," Bisons hitting coach Corey Hart said of Bichette, who returned from a left hand fracture 10 days ago. "He's keeping himself calm and not too excited. He's really excited at times, and I think when he's able to calm down and slow it down, he's able to string a bunch of hits together."
Baseball's No. 8 overall prospect tallied his four hits in his first four trips to the plate. Out of the leadoff spot, Bichette opened the game with a single up the middle and roped an RBI single through the right side in the second inning. After lining a single to right in the fourth, he drove a double to left in the fifth for his final knock.
"He just stayed through the middle of the field and stayed with his approach," Hart said. "They tried to brush him back at times, and he stayed with it, stayed back in there and was able to keep the barrel on the ball."
The 2016 second-rounder missed six weeks but has been on a tear since his return. Over nine games since rejoining the Bisons lineup, Bichette has batted .342/.375/.605 with two homers and eight RBIs.
"From the minute that he got (back) here, I haven't seen any and he hasn't expressed to me at all any pain," Hart said. "It was almost like it never even happened, like he just was somewhere else and came back. I haven't seen anything abnormal out of him, and he's been great."
Bichette is keeping his approach simple.
"Just to try and get back in the swing of things," he said in postgame comments. "I was out for a while, so just kind of get back up here and get comfortable with the team and try and produce. It's been good so far."
The infielder told MLB.com his roll has come along with an increased level of comfortability at the Minors' highest level.
"It's just trusting myself," Bichette said. "That's probably the thing for everybody really, is being confident in themselves. At each level, there's a new hurdle to get over mentally, not really physically but mentally, so for me that's really been it."
Even with Guerrero already at the big league level and Cavan Biggio having joined him there, Bichette is keeping himself focused on what's at hand in Buffalo.
"I was pretty motivated already, so I wouldn't say [their promotions] really added anything, but it definitely gets me going a little bit knowing that my boys are up there and I'm still down here," he said after the win. "I mean I don't expect to be there right now. I've still got to come down here and get my feet wet and play hard and show them I'm ready, but that's what I intend to do."
2019 MiLB include
Sunday's double was his sixth extra-base hit since coming off the IL.
"He generates a lot of bat speed, and even his misses are hit really hard and have a really high exit velo," Hart explained. "He hits the ball hard. He generates a lot of bat speed, so if he catches it right, it's going to go."
Bichette had a four-hit game while rehabbing with Class A Dunedin on June 11. Sunday's big showing came three days after the 21-year-old matched a career high with five RBIs during a 3-for-5 night.