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Bichette joins Guerrero among impressive Toronto rookies

August 12, 2019
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Toronto Blue Jays' Bo Bichette hits a double against the New York Yankees during the sixth inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, in Toronto. (Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP)
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Toronto Blue Jays' Bo Bichette hits a double against the New York Yankees during the sixth inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, in Toronto. (Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP)

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is just part of an exciting group of Toronto rookies.

Bo Bichette was called up from the minors late last month, and in just 14 games, he already has 13 extra-base hits. He began his career with an 11-game hitting streak and also set a major league record with nine straight games with a double. Bichette plays shortstop, which differentiates him a bit from his father, Dante, an outfielder who hit 274 home runs in his big league career.

The Blue Jays are 23 games under .500, but they have the makings of an exciting young infield with Guerrero at third, Bichette at shortstop and Cavan Biggio at second. All three rookies are the sons of prominent major leaguers. Biggio’s father, Craig, had a Hall of Fame career with Houston.

The 20-year-old Guerrero came into the season with the highest expectations among that trio. He’s hitting .274 with an OPS of .805. Those are somewhat ordinary numbers, but there’s still a sense that Guerrero is a star in the making. In a 1-0 loss to the Yankees on Sunday, Guerrero battled Aroldis Chapman for 13 pitches, finally hitting into a double play but earning plenty of respect from the New York closer.

In terms of prospect cachet, Bichette hasn’t been too far behind Guerrero. A second-round draft pick in 2016, Bichette rolled through the minor leagues, batting .362 at Class A in 2017 and hitting 43 doubles at Double-A the following year.

Bichette had an .806 OPS with Triple-A Buffalo this year before joining the big league club.

ALL THE WAY BACK

When the New York Mets lost at San Francisco on July 21 — their third extra-inning defeat in four games — they were 45-54. They’ve won 16 of 19 since then to pull back into the postseason race. The Mets are now one game behind the second wild card in the National League after taking two of three from Washington.

The Nationals let those two games against the Mets slip away, but they’ve turned their season around in similar fashion after a 19-31 start. Washington is currently positioned for the first wild card.

Over in the American League, it’s Cleveland that’s come storming back after a disappointing start. The Indians were 11½ games behind first-place Minnesota before they beat the Twins on June 4. That was the start of a 42-17 stretch for Cleveland, which is now tied with Minnesota atop the AL Central after Carlos Santana’s 10th-inning grand slam against the Twins on Sunday.

HIGHLIGHT

The Twins turned their second 5-4-3 triple play in a three-week span Wednesday — and both were with Martín Pérez on the mound.

This one came against Atlanta in the third inning. Tyler Flowers hit a bases-loaded grounder to third baseman Miguel Sanó. He stepped on third and threw to second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who relayed to first baseman C.J. Cron.

Sanó was the first baseman when Minnesota pulled off a similar triple play July 22 against the Yankees. Schoop also made the turn at second on that one.

LINE OF THE WEEK

Baltimore’s Jonathan Villar became the fifth Orioles player to hit for the cycle, wrapping up the feat with a ninth-inning single in a 9-6 loss to the Yankees last Monday night.

Honorable mentions: It’s been a big year for three-homer games, and this past week was no exception. Cincinnati rookie Aristides Aquino homered in his first three at-bats of Saturday night’s game against the Chicago Cubs. That gave him seven homers in his first 10 games with the Reds. The same night, rookie Yordan Alvarez hit three of Houston’s six home runs in a 23-2 rout of Baltimore.

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Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister

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