Bo Bichette says his recent hot streak at the plate is the result of a season-long quest to rediscover himself and the Toronto Blue Jays shortstop is positive that the search has brought him exactly what he was looking for.
“I definitely felt like I was trying to find myself all year,” Bichette said during Blair and Barker Wednesday morning on Sportsnet 590 The Fan. “Not really my swing and not really anything like [mechanical]. Just trying to find myself, figure out who I was. I feel like sometimes you go out there trying to be the hitter everybody wants you to be and then you forget who you really are. So that was really the process for me.
“I’m just finding myself now.”
Bichette seems to have changed the narrative of his season with an epic tear so far in September that included a three-home game on Monday against the Baltimore Orioles. He is hitting .593 (16-for-27) over his past six games with three doubles, five home runs and 14 RBIs.
During that span he’s raised his season OPS from .725 to .781, which ranks fifth best among qualified shortstops in baseball. Xander Bogaerts leads MLB with an .848 OPS, followed by Trea Turner (.828), Carlos Correa (.786) and Corey Seager (.783)
Bichette’s placement on that list is quite impressive considering the narrative that’s followed him for most of 2022. Many fans and pundits have wondered what exactly was going on with the 24-year-old, who seemed to regress from his all-star form of last year.
Bichette admits that even he wasn’t immune to that line of thinking.
“I think it’s been a tough year,” he told told Jeff Blair and Kevin Barker. “I had a lot of expectation coming in this year for myself and things didn’t go well off the bat. So that’s tough to deal with, but I put my focus on coming to the field every day and [giving] my best effort and continue to work hard and realized that I had a lot of time in front of me.”
That focus has certainly helped Bichette, who adds that a change in his approach at the dish has proved beneficial.
“In the box, really just having no fear,” he said. “Not being afraid to chase, not being afraid to get beat by a fastball and trusting in myself, trusting that I can get to pretty much any pitch that’s thrown. So, yeah, just going out there with a lot of confidence [and] no fear at the plate.”
That fearless approach has certainly yielded impressive results — each of Bichette’s last five home runs have come on either the first or second pitch of his at-bats.
“[I had to] just realize that who I am is a pretty good player,” said Bichette. “And I’m going to go out there and be me and compete and be aggressive and just feel good.”