In Their Own Words: A Conversation with Arizona State Commit Bo Bichette
Before he became an Under Armour All-American, we saw Bo Bichette at the Under Armour All-America Pre-Season event back in January of 2015 in Mesa, Arizona. The talented shortstop was a lot of fun to watch during his time in Arizona, showing instinctually his ability to hit and hit well against talented pitching and defensively, his quick actions and a cannon for an arm that made him a very special prospect to watch.
It’s no surprise that the talent didn’t fall far from the tree, as Bo has plus tools across the board and strong bloodlines with the Bichette name that has had success across all levels of baseball.
Heading into the Under Armour All-America Game last August, Bo took home the Home Run Derby Title at Chicago’s Wrigley Field and displayed his talents further on a national stage during the game for the National Team, ripping an RBI triple into the right field corner, drawing a walk and scoring a run in three trips to plate.
In his senior season at Lakewood High School in 2016, Bichette led the way, hitting .586 with nine doubles, four triples, 14 homers, 41 RBI and 21 stolen bases. He also showed a keen eye at the plate, drawing 36 walks during the season.
We recently spoke with the Arizona State University commit about his experience at last year’s All-America Game, the work he has put into his 2016 season to get ready for the next step in his career and how much influence his Dad has been in his development and instruction.
Baseball Factory: This offseason you came back, determined to take your game to a higher level, you came back quicker and better this year, and it’s really shown defensively for you. What exactly did you do in the offseason to get to that level?
Bo Bichette: I just worked really hard with my trainer, Chris Barnard at Overtime Athletes in St. Petersburg, Florida. We worked on a lot of first step quickness, explosiveness. You know, side to side movement, stuff like that. Also, I got better with my diet too. That helped a lot.
BF: Did you change anything in particular? Cut anything out?
BB: No, he just would give me a certain amount of macros I needed to hit every day. Strict on fat, carbs, proteins.
BF: Who do you model your game after? Is there anybody right now in college baseball or the majors that you enjoy watching to see how they play the game?
BB: I would say probably a couple of players I model my game after. Probably my hitting – I guess I wouldn’t say I model but I watch most of the time – is Josh Donaldson. I like his aggressiveness as a player and his dynamic ability to hit. And then, as a fielder I like to watch (Troy) Tulowitzki. I think that he’s an unorthodox shortstop but he makes it work and he’s one of the best so I like to watch him.
BF: You’ve got a great swing obviously because we saw you in the Home-Run Derby last year at the All-America game, it’s a little different but you’ve been able to hit at every level. Has anyone tried to change your swing? Have you always done that or was it something that you changed at a certain age?
BB: No, it’s natural from when I first started playing baseball. That’s just how I’ve always wanted to do it. I also spent time with Tulowitzki and a bunch of players from the Blue Jays: (Chris) Colabello and their personal hitting coach Bobby Tewksbary. I learned a lot from him and they love my swing and they helped me try to perfect it. But really I haven’t – I think I’m kind of hard-headed, I think that’s why nobody tries to change my swing but I definitely get a lot of “critique” for it I guess.
BF: Is it little critiques here and there? “You should change this, hold your hands higher?”
BB: No, it’s just all about comfortability for me; timing, rhythm, you know. As long as I have all of that I’m good.
BF: Did your Dad (Dante Bichette) have any kind of influence on your swing? Or have you just built it yourself?
BB: No, he always let me stand how I wanted. He just always, when we were little, we worked on what happens when the foot gets down. We wanted to be as efficient as possible when that happens. He let me hold my hands high if I wanted, made sure my swing was clean once I planted my foot.
BF: To that, how much influence has your Dad been in your development and instruction so far?
BB: Yeah, a ton. Obviously, it’s a blessing to have someone like that be your every-day coach, I guess put it that way. He was a huge part of my development as a hitter when I was young for sure. But once I turned about 14, 15 years old, I think – he kind of let me try and figure out for myself because I started to show a little bit more admiration for the game. Kind of like a drive to get better so he started to let me figure it out myself.
BF: You’ve been playing with the F.T.B. team with Jered Goodwin, a highly-talented 18U team. You’ve played up in age with that team, hit in the middle of the lineup and done really well. How has that experience been for you?
BB: Yeah, I played with Nick Gordon and players like that from the time I was 14 years old. That was a huge summer for me because I realized the type of player I could be. Obviously Nick was a really high draft pick and I realized that I could kind of hang with him I guess, put it that way. That kind of gave me motivation to work harder, pursue my dream more. Also, that same summer I was traveling the big leagues with my Dad because he was the hitting coach for the Colorado Rockies.
BF: How much influence has your brother (Dante Bichette, Jr.) been on you?
BB: A ton, we’re best friends! We talk every day, I’ve learned a lot from him and his experiences so far. Going through the draft process and now going through the minor leagues. So hopefully whenever the minor leagues come, I can learn from his experiences and take advantage of them.
BF: You’re a Florida kid, you know you have all the top schools down in Florida that I’m sure were after you. Why and how did you end up picking Arizona State?
BB: I guess that I spent a lot of time with my Dad when he was coaching the Rockies and their Spring Training is in Arizona and I kind of just fell in love with Arizona in general. And I love how the ball flies there and everything. When we went up there, they expressed a lot of interest in me and obviously I had a lot of interest to begin with. I love the coaches, they were unbelievable, Coach (Tracy) Smith and Coach (Ben) Greenspan were huge influences. The facilities are great; they have a big league stadium basically. Really what it came down to was they were very adamant about once I get to Arizona State, getting me to the next level in better shape. So that was a big key in picking them.
BF: What was the experience of All-America like for you last year?
BB: It was awesome! You know, we first walked in there and – obviously I heard stories because my brother was in the game – so we walk in there and the hotel was awesome and the Under Armour room we had, the floor they had for us was incredible. All the mannequins with their Under Armour uniforms on was really neat. The player lounge was awesome and just meeting all those guys that you’re going to see for years down the road and play against was an unreal experience. Obviously playing at Wrigley Field was great too.
BF: Between now and the draft what are you going to be doing? Do you have any private workouts happening, or any sort of lead-up to the draft?
BB: I want to say I chose to do about five or six workouts and a couple of them are private so that’s good and I’ll be working out four times a week with my trainer. Then in the cages and on the field every day. Just working for whatever comes next.
BF: Are you working on anything specifically? Maybe driving the ball the opposite way, any part of your game that you’re trying to get better at between now and the draft, or for next season in college?
BB: really in my batting practice I’m always just gone the opposite field every time I take B.P. So now that’s a thing that I’ve done all the time. I would say I’ve improved my – like I said before – I’ve improved my speed and my athletic ability a lot. That was something that I focused on and am still focusing on. I would say that right now I’m still focusing on my athletic ability and my ability to stay at shortstop, all of that stuff.
BF: Where are you going to be on draft night? Will you be at home with family watching it?
BB: It depends on a lot of things, I’ll say that. Once I have an idea of what’s going on leading into the draft, probably will depend on how many people I’m watching it with, all that kind of stuff. I don’t have any plans right now, I’m just focusing on the workouts and getting better.