Welcome to the next installment of Tampa Bay Rays vs. the AL East. Today we focus on shortstop.
The Tampa Bay Rays have one of the league’s best defensive shortstops who also packs some pop with the bat. In this series, we will preview how the rest of the American League East stacks up to the Rays at the most skilled defensive position on the infield. On Deck: Toronto Blue Jays
AL East 2B Team Previews:
AL East 3B Team Previews
Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays Fangraphs 2020 Projected SS WAR: 3.8
There is absolutely zero question as to who will be playing shortstop for the Blue Jays this season, and presumably for many years to come. Bo Bichette‘s first taste of big-league action last season did not disappoint. After being promoted to the Jays active roster in late July, Bichette didn’t have any trouble adjusting at the major-league level.
In just 46 games last season Bichette hit .311 to go along with 11 home runs, 21 RBI, and 18 doubles. With a phenomenal .930 OPS, Bichette was a huge bright spot for an up and coming Blue Jays squad. This young and exciting team will attract a lot of eyeballs once the 2020 season gets underway.
According to Steamer projections, Bichette is poised to once again be an integral part of the Blue Jays day to day success. They have Bichette hitting .275 to go along with 22 homers and 73 RBI. With a projected 3.7 WAR, Bichette leads the team in projected WAR, ahead of Vladimir Guerrero Jr.‘s projected 2.8 WAR.
Arguably already the best player on his team, the sky is limit for Bichette. He is going to be a menace for opposing teams in the AL East for the foreseeable future. Whether or not the Blue Jays are competitive this year has a great deal to do with the performance of Bo Bichette. If he can continue an upward trend this year he may be in the conversation for the best shortstop in the game and the Blue Jays could potentially be a dark horse to contend in this division.