Bichette, Santana top Baseball America’s list of top 20 GCL prospects

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The Rookie Level GCL Yankees won their league title and led the circuit in every significant offensive category (and by wide margin in most cases), so it’s no surprise that the Yankees are well represented in Baseball America’s list of the top 20 prospects in the GCL. Dante Bichette Jr. tops the list and Ravel Santana is right behind him at number two. Claudio Custodio and his great name is a little further down at number nine.

In the subscriber-only scouting reports, Ben Badler says Bichette “impressed GCL managers with his advanced approach at the plate, good bat speed and plus-plus power.” He notes that Dante Jr. lowered his hands as the season went on, helping him get ready to hit sooner. He was said to be fine at the hot corner, making “the routine plays, showing solid actions and a strong arm.” Santana is touted as a tools freak, with “a wiry build, good bat speed and plus power.” His best tools are his powerful arm and top of the line speed, which help make him a top notch defender in center. Custodio has a “solid hitting approach and a line-drive swing.” Because he doesn’t have much pop, he “doesn’t chase many pitches outside of the strike zone and focuses at getting on base to use his excellent speed.” He might end up at second base long-term.

The next top 20 list relevant to the Yankees is the Short Season NY-Penn League, which will be released on Friday. I’ll be stunned of Mason Williams doesn’t rank number one.

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Sweating the small stuff
  • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    Let’s just get this out of the way right up front…


    “Bichette was a nice find, the Yanks draft well.”
    “He looked good this year, but I still thought (and think) there were better prospects on the board when the Yanks drafted him, so I didn’t love the pick.”
    “BA, ESPN and the others don’t necessarily know better than the Yanks, there are a ton of prospects out there and we shouldn’t put too much stock into any particular analysis.”
    “But when there’s consensus from people who are respected in the industry that’s not a bad benchmark to follow.”
    [Go back and forth for 15 more comments, like so.]

    “How much stock can we put into GCL stats?”
    “Not much, but it’s still obviously better to play well than to look overmatched as such a low level.”

    Annnnnd scene.

    • Avi

      Well done.

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona

      Why ruin this for me? It’s the only thing I read that entertains me.

      Your son deserves to be a Royal.

      • Avi

        Andy, gotta give you credit for being all over Ravel Santana from early on last year. Good call!
        Let us know of any other potential good prospects.

        • Andy In Sunny Daytona

          Renzo Martini.

          • Avi

            Scouting report PLEASE..

            • Andy In Sunny Daytona

              80 name tool. Venezuelan 1st/3rd baseman with patience at the plate with developing power and decent glove

          • Jobu The Voodoo Troll

            Holy Crap – that might be a better name than Claudio Custodio.

    • JimIsBored (Jim S)

      *Golf clap*

    • Ted Nelson

      Spot on

    • JobaWockeeZ


    • Tom Gaffney

      Nice one man analytical dialogue, but those comments were way too rational. You left out all the idiotic chaff on both sides.

  • Avi

    Five years ago Clayton Kershaw Ranked #1 on BA’s GCL top 20. Dellin Betances was #6 Neftali Feliz was #8 and Zach Mcallister and Kyle Drabek were also on the list. Solid debut for DBJ to say the least .

    • Thomas

      Kershaw has a -21 OPS+ and he is the best of bunch. This doesn’t bode well for Dante Bichette Jr.’s future as a major league hitter.

      • jon

        I loled well done

  • Kevin D.

    Talent throughout the farm system. It feels great to be able to say that.

    • Avi

      Yes. With Montero being promoted and Banuelos and Betances likely to make their ML debut within 12 months, it’s nice to see the next wave of potential A or B prospects take form. Mason, Bichette, Santana and Gary Sanchez and maybe JR Murphy are the guys that will likely head up the Yanks’ top 10 lists over the next few years. I’m not high on Heathcott, never have been.

  • Avi

    I’m surprised Isaias Tejada isn’t on list. Ben Badler is having a chat at 2:00 on the top 20 and I’m sure there will be a question or three on Tejada. Also thought Tyler Austin, Matt Duran and Daniel Lopez might get some love. Though I’m not sure if Austin qualified.

  • Mr Obvious

    Dante Bichette Jr … Possible successor to A-Rod or inevitable high end trade bait?

    • Urban


    • Plank

      Way way way way too early to tell. At that level in the minor leagues, talent is talent. At AAA and sometimes AA, there is more of that line of thought, but not in Rookie ball.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Montero/Bichette…Any lefty power hitters in the pipeline?

    • Avi

      The Yanks are betting $1.1M that Greg Bird is one.

    • Mike Axisa

      Kyle Roller’s not going to be a star or anything, but that kid has some serious pop from the left side. He’s also younger than I realized, still just 21. For some reason I thought he was already 23 or so.

      • pat

        You were right the first time. He’s 23. 05/27/1988 DOB.

        • Mike Axisa

          Dammit. Nevermind then, I misread.

          • Andy In Sunny Daytona

            You fell into the KyleRollerLukeMurtonRobertLyerly Bog. No one knows the differnce between any of them. They’re all 21 and they’re all 23.

  • Avi

    Ted Nelson, You’re gonna love this:

    Avi (New Jersey): Dante Bichette Jr ranked at #108 in Baseball America’s top 200 draft prospects prior to the draft. Many people called the Yankess #51 selection a reach. Is it fair to say he outperformed his projections?

    Ben Badler: That’s probably a fair statement. There were definitely concerns about whether his hitting style would translate to pro ball, and I think his debut came as a surprise to a lot of scouts. Now, dominating the GCL doesn’t validate anything, but his ability to hit and his approach at the plate certainly look better than some thought before the draft. There wasn’t a player in the league who earned more universal praise than Bichette.

    • Ted Nelson

      Love it… the Yankees were right-er than BA and some other scouts and journalists so far. They thought he’d transition while other scouts doubted he would. He transitioned fine from HS to pro ball with hardly a breathe of fresh air between. (Obviously still has a long row to hoe… Eric Duncan was also named the #1 prospect in GCL by BA, and were many other busts.)

      It was never a question of whether or not he outperformed BA’s expectations (so far, in GCL). Obviously he did. It was a question of why anyone would hold BA’s expectations in higher regard than the Yankees’ expectations (or any other group of scouts and/or journalists’ expectations above the Yankees’ scouts)…

      It’s a question of why you feel BA is the single all-knowing source on draft prospects, even when we can literally look back historically and see how poorly their rankings hold up outside the top 20 or so. There are thousands of players to scout and different scouts will have different opinions on the multi-year development of different prospects. Everyone will have hits and misses, but without analyzing the historical record I don’t see why you concluded that BA is so smart and Yankees’ scouts are so dumb.

      You ask anything about Tejada, Austin, Duran?

      • Avi

        I asked on Tyler Austin, Badler didn’t comment.
        On Tejada:
        Steven Alengakis (NYC): Hi Ben, I was really surprised and pleased that the Yankees had 3 players on your Top 1o GCL list. One player I was wondering about though was their C, Isaias Tejada. His numbers looked really good, especially as a younger player.Is he a legitimate prospect? What kind of impression did he make on GCL managers and scouts? Thank you.

        Ben Badler: He was in the mix. Was a pretty cheap sign but he’s come a long ways since last year. Solid defensive catcher, blocks well, average arm, mostly a gap-to-gap guy but showed a bit of pop this year, pretty solid approach, doesn’t chase too much out of the zone. Pretty pleasant surprise who put himself on the map this year.

        • Ted Nelson


      • Tom Gaffney

        Not just BA that bashed the pick. Many outlets (including our beloved RAB) were critical. As to why? It’s not so much that everyone thinks BA is so smart and Yankees scouts so dumb, as two factors:

        1) All people can do is make judgements based on the current information available on the net. BA is the leader in that sense and most others follow suit or base their analysis on BA or the same info BA has.

        2) Bloggers and commenters have to have an opinion and have to say something. You can’t just qualify every sentence you say with, “who knows, these are 18 year old kids. This is a crap shoot.” If you are passionate about prospects, you are going to form some opinion on your own and want to speak it, but you only have so much information to go on.

        I don’t feel like BA or RAB were overly vociferous or obnoxious in their opinions of Bichette. I agree that some outlets get unjustifiably confident of their prospect opinions and word things in an absurdly unqualified manner, but you just have to take them with a grain of salt (or mock them mercilessly). I think most people are aware that making accurate predictions of a draft class’ success is virtually impossible. Check out this article on Billy Beane’s famed Moneyball draft:

        Everyone thought it was a killer draft but very few of these guys worked out the way they expected.

  • http://deleted Total Dominication

    Does this mean either breaks the top 100?

    • Avi

      I doubt it. Still too soon.

  • Dennis

    Please heal well Santana. Williams, Santana and Heathcott in a race to see who will be the CF of the future.

    • Jerome S.


      Just my guess, the odds are still that it’s none of them.

    • All Praise Be To Mo

      Matt Kemp.

  • http://baseballamerica jiamar jeffrey

    biendo las mejores pespertivas que tienen SANTANA y BICHETE JR,encavesan las primeras lista del top 20 de los yankees ya que diero a conocer todos sus potencial y desarrolllo desmostrado como era esperdo