Scott MacArthur is the new guest of Blue Jays Talk on the Sportsnet radio network. He will also be a regular contributor to sportsnet.ca throughout the season, starting with this column.
DUNEDIN, Fla. – Incredibly, the Blue Grapfruits League program is less than a week from its conclusion. We will be in Montreal for the last two games of the exhibition season, next Monday and Tuesday, and then at home in Toronto for the inauguration of March 28th.
So, there is enough of a sample size to start making some assessments and predictions based on, with excuses in advance to speak in the third person only once, what Scotty Mac thinks:
IMPRESSIONS OF BO BICHETTE
"He was our best player in the field," a Blue Jays executive told me about Bichette during a chance meeting with runny eggs and smoked bacon in our hotel's continental breakfast.
The comment is not to be disputed.
Bichette has been the basis for 19 of his 40 spring plate appearances, a .475 clip, and is showing notable pop: seven of his 15 hits were for extra bases (four shots at home, three doubles). Saturday against the Yankees, Bichette went to 2 on 2 with a walk, including an opposite field that extolled Aroldis Chapman in the sixth inning.
Like everyone else of his age, Bichette is the product of an age haunted by speed of pace, so it's no surprise that he shrugged when asked what he wanted to do to Chapman.
"It's a baseball that crosses the plate, no matter who is throwing it," said Bichette. "If you start thinking about who's on the mound, you're in trouble. I'm just trying to concentrate on the point of release and get a good shot to hit."
You'll have fun watching this game for kids. He is extremely skilled, an advanced offensive player for his age and is developing defensively. C & # 39; is a touch in his game, an unmistakable style.
Bichette's father, Dante Sr., retired after the 2001 season. Bo was too young to remember being in the clubhouse. But he has good memories of the 2013 season when Dante Sr. returned to Colorado as coach of the Rockies. Then, 15, Bichette would practice batting and hit the balls up to some of the protected ones in his father's big league. He took balls of earth with people of the caliber of Troy Tulowitzki and D.J. Lemahieu.
"That summer was enormous for me. At that moment I realized that this was the game I wanted to play," said Bichette.
Despite the impressive spring show, Bichette will most likely start the triple-A season after spending 2018 at the double-A New Hampshire.
TRAVIS SNAKE BITTEN
Soon, you name a Toronto athlete who had a worse injury experience than Devon Travis.
The list of injuries is long for Travis and, given his obvious talent and his gregarious personality, he is also sad. We are getting closer to "what could have been" territory; this is if we haven't already arrived. He was ready to be an exceptional player on the field along with a positive and respected voice in the clubhouse.
After winning the American League Rookie of the Month award in April 2015, Travis faced severe shoulder injury, almost chronic problems with his right knee and now the arthroscopic procedure to treat a torn meniscus in his left knee.
Travis will start the season on the injury list and will be evaluated for game preparation in one month to six weeks. Due to this timing, the Blue Jays will have to take into consideration the opening of a place on the list of 40 men inserting Travis in the list of 60 days of injuries, a scenario that would make Travis unfit to return to the Blue Jays until, as early as Monday, May 27, in Tampa Bay.
LUCIANO FIT IN THE BULLPEN?
If you were a betting man – and luckily they weren't – these are the eight lifters, starting today, I'd bet you go north with the Blue Jays:
Ken Giles, Bud Norris, Tim Mayza, Ryan Tepera, Joe Biagini, John Axford, Sam Gaviglio and Elvis Luciano. Luciano is only 19 but the club's hand is forced by his status as Rule-5. If at any time the Blue Jays wish to send Luciano to the minor leagues, they must first offer it to the Kansas City Royals, the team from which it was claimed.
There were a lot of suggestions, including a lot of talk about Luciano's make-up; does not seem shaken by bad trips. Furthermore, general manager Ross Atkins has publicly stated that the challenge is not to bring Luciano for the first month of the season, it is if the club can afford to allow Luciano to absorb a place for the whole season.
On this subject and many others you will hear me say three simple words: "Time will tell". It is a phrase that could become repetitive, therefore an apology in advance, but with such a young group there are many players for those who do not yet have definitive answers.