Big league sons face major expectations

ON THE ROAD: Trio of Blue Jays prospects trying to step out of fathers' shadows

Their dads combined to play in 20 Major League All-Star Games, smashed 1,014 HRs and collected 7,556 hits.

How can their three sons live up to that?

The journey to escape their famous fathers' shadows begins in Dunedin for three top-tier minor league prospects with recognizable last names. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette are trying to make a name for themselves.

“To watch these three play, like I said, they’re chips off the old block but they have their own skill set,” said Dunedin Blue Jays broadcaster Jim Tarabocchia.

Cavan, son of Hall of Fame Houston Astros second baseman Craig Biggio, plays the same position as his dad. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has the same hulking swing that helped his father blast 449 career home runs. Bo Bichette, the newest Dunedin Blue Jay after arriving mid-summer from Lansing, Mich., may be the smoothest fielder of the three. His dad, Dante, was a four-time All-Star.

“Is he going to hit like his dad? Is he going to hit more home runs?” asked former MLB star Carlos Delgado, who spent time with the players this month as a special on-field consultant. “You just don’t want to get caught into being your dad.”

There are no last names on the backs of the Dunedin Blue Jays’ home uniforms on this night. The blue numbers pop off the player’s backs against the bright white fabric.

Some players probably wish their names were scrawled across their backs for fans to admire. At least three Jays prospects are hoping to live up to those letters.

“For me, I embrace it, said Bichette, who played his high school baseball at nearby Lakewood High School in St. Petersburg. “I think given the last name has given me and Cavan a lot of blessing in our life. A lot of opportunities that we probably wouldn’t have and stuff like that, but I think for me and him I think we both have huge expectations for ourselves.”

The public address announcer’s booming voice rings in the ears of fans filing into their seats just before the first pitch. The names are familiar. It sounds like a 1997 tilt in front of 50,000 Major League fans…

“At third base, Vladimir Guerrero Jr….”

“What (my) dad did is obviously something great,” said Guerrero through an interpreter. “What (he) did have has already been done. (I) just try to go up there and be another name in the big leagues one day.”

“At shortstop, Bo Bichette…”

“I’m just excited to be here,” the 19-year old says with a smile.

“And at second base, Cavan Biggio…”

“He knows for me to make it as a baseball player I’m going to have to make it on my own,” Cavan said of his father. “He’s a great resource to have.”

On this night, the three players combine to go 3-for-10 at the plate with two RBIs and one run scored against the visiting Port Charlotte Stone Crabs. The crowd bellowed when the prospect's names were announced before each at bat.

Maybe the familiarity of those last names caught the fans. attention.

Or, maybe these three budding stars are starting to build names of their own. 

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