A rare convergence of genetics, talent and coincidence is on display at the Blue Jays minor league complex in Dunedin, Florida these days. Three sons of former major leaguers (one a Hall of Famer and another who soon should be) are prominently atop the lineup of the Advanced A Blue Jays – Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Bichette and Guerrero in particular are garnering media attention in Toronto for the strides they’ve taken this season – both were just promoted from Lansing.
I took in their Florida State League game last night against the Lakeland Flying Tigers on a steamy yet pleasant evening in Dunedin. Certainly a different scene compared to spring training where the stadium is packed – there may have been a couple hundred people in the stands at most, spread out among the general admission seating on Princesses and Pirates night at the ballpark. It certainly provided an opportunity to get a very close look at these young prospects.
Initial impressions – Bichette is smaller in stature than I expected, and needs to work on this throwing strength if he wants to make it to the bigs as a shortstop. But there’s no question about his ability at the plate. He was hitting .381 before last night’s game and went 2 for 5 and was hit by a pitch at the end of a long solid at bat. Biggio also had two hits including a first-inning homer that brought in Bichette. Guerrero, still just 18, is every bit the physical presence his dad was, and appears to have all the tools to be a big leaguer soon. He and Bichette had RBI singles in a 3-run 7th inning. Sportsnet has a feature on Guerrero online today you can read here: http://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/mlb/big-read-vlad-guerrero-jr-best-blue-jays-prospect-generation/
Fortunately, the Tigers bullpen woes seem to be systemic as the Dunedin Jays battled back from 9-4 down to win 11-9.
It’s curious to me how the compelling story of three sons of well-known big leaguers all playing on the same team hasn’t seemed to have captured the attention of more Tampa area media as yet. Given Bichette and Guerrero’s pace of progress, who knows how much longer this rare phenomenon may last. It’s likely overly optimistic to pencil them in for opening day 2019 in Toronto…but hey, stranger things have happened. Having spent a lot of time around junior hockey in my previous life in broadcasting and having watched many of those young men make names for themselves in the NHL, I’m equally glad I was able to see these young talents at this stage of their development.