Bichette's power potential wows current Blue Jays

Bichette's power potential wows current Blue Jays

TORONTO -- Bo Bichette technically hasn't even signed his first professional contract yet, but he already feels like one of the guys because of ties that run deep in the Blue Jays' organization.

The son of former All-Star Dante Bichette, Bo has developed a close relationship over the years with current Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. The two got to know each other several years ago when Bichette's father was a coach with the Rockies, and they have remained in touch since.

This winter, Bichette joined Tulowitzki and other Blue Jays such as Kevin Pillar and Ryan Goins for batting practice. When Bichette was taken in the second round of the Draft on Thursday night, Tulowitzki was quick to reach out.

"He texted me and said, 'Hopefully we can be turning double plays before I'm done playing,'" Bichette said in a phone interview with following a season in which he hit .569 with 13 home runs as a senior at Lakewood High School in St. Petersburg, Fla.

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"He was always really nice when my dad was coaching. He got my number, and he would text me every once in a while. It came back around this offseason, when he was with the Blue Jays and came down to hit with me. ... Tulo has been a great guy to me. It has been really cool."

Bichette entered this Draft as someone who was considered a tough sign. That doesn't appear to be an issue with Toronto, as Bichette said he fully expects a deal to get done. He told the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday that he turned down four offers prior to being taken by the Blue Jays, and he explained why to on Friday.

The 18-year-old power-hitting infielder had a specific number in mind that would convince him to forgo a commitment to Arizona State University. There was a small group of teams, though, from which he was willing to take less money, and the Blue Jays were at the top of that list.

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"I plan to sign this upcoming week," said Bichette, whose Draft position (No. 66 overall) comes with an assigned bonus slot value of $978,600. "I just had a very good comfortability with this organization. I wanted to be a Blue Jay more than any other team, so when they called, I knew it was a good opportunity, and I took it."

Bichette will draw natural comparisons to his father. He has a similar power stroke, which he showed off by winning the Under Armour All-American Game Home Run Derby. Offensively, the hope is that the younger Bichette will hit like his father, but defensively, he projects as a middle infielder, with a likely future home at second base.

Baseball runs deep in this family, with Bo's brother, Dante Bichette Jr., currently playing for the Yankees' Double-A affiliate, having been the 51st overall selection in 2011. Bo has already drawn some high praise from the big leaguers who saw him in action this winter.

"Bo is special," Pillar said. "He was hitting balls harder and farther than we were in the cage. ... Tremendous talent. He obviously comes from a tremendous baseball family with his dad and brother. The future looks bright for him.

"I'm excited to see him start this new chapter of his life and play with better competition and see what he's got. I'll be rooting for him. Hopefully our paths cross while I'm here. That will be fun."

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.