Prospect Profile: Dante Bichette Jr.


(Photo via The Orlando Sentinel)

Dante Bichette Jr. | 3B

The son of former big leaguer Dante Bichette Sr., Dante Jr. first popped up on the radar in 2005, when he helped his Maitland, Florida team to the Little League World Series. He went on to star at Orangewood Christian High School just outside of Orlando, twice being named the All-Central Florida Baseball Player of the Year. He also led the Rams to the state tournament his junior and senior years.

Baseball America (subs. req’d) ranked Bichette as 15th best prospect in Florida and 108th best prospect overall heading into the 2011 draft, so it was somewhat surprising when the Yankees drafted him with their first selection, the 51st overall pick. They’d received that pick as compensation for the loss of Javy Vazquez to the Marlins. Bichette signed quickly for a $750k, passing on his commitment to Georgia for roughly $55k over slot.

Pro Debut
The Yankees assigned Bichette to the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League after signing, though he got off to a pretty slow start. He was hitting just .151 about three weeks into the season, but then went on a 16-game hitting streak and didn’t stop hitting the rest of the year. Bichette led the GCL Yankees to the league title thanks in part to his game-tying homer in the title game, then was named the GCL MVP after the season. He finished second in the league in AVG (.342), second in OBP (.446), eighth in SLG (.505), fourth in OPS (.951), first in hits (67), first in doubles (17), first in RBI (47), second in total bases (99), and third in walks (30). That earned him the top spot on Baseball America’s list of the top 20 GCL prospects as well as a late season promotion to Short Season Staten Island, where homered and walked in eight plate appearances across two games.

Scouting Report
Like his father, Bichette is a bat first player. He generates big raw power and bat speed from his 6-foot-1, 215 lb. frame, using a discerning eye to work deep counts and take walks when he doesn’t get anything to hit. He also makes a surprising amount of contact for a power hitter. The Yankees cleaned up some extraneous movement in his setup and swing after signing, changes he took to pretty quickly. Bichette has worked hard to improve his defense at the hot corner, specifically his arm angle and throwing. There’s a still a chance he’ll end up in a corner outfield spot or first base down the road. He’s pretty much an average runner at this point.

The Yankees seem to have focused on makeup and work ethic lately, and Bichette is the prospect poster boy for intangibles. George King (subs. req’d) wrote that he took on a leadership role with the GCL club this year, helping unite the young American and Latin American players on the team and making sure no cliques formed. He also takes extra rounds of batting practice regularly. Here’s some video.

2012 Outlook
The Yankees rave about Bichette’s worth ethic and leadership qualities, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they get a little agressive and jump him into full season ball with Low-A Charleston next season. The Yankees have generally hold their best high school draftees back in Extended Spring Training before assigning them to Short Season Staten Island during their first full pro season, at least over the last few years.

My Take
I’m not Bichette’s biggest fan, but the kid can hit, there’s little doubt about that. He fits right into the Yankees’ mold of patience and power, and right-handed pop is a little more valuable to the team since they can sign pretty much any lefty hitter and watch him hit double-digit homers to right field. Can’t do that with righties, they need legit pop to hit one out in the Bronx. The questions about Bichette’s long-term position and defensive value are real, but it’s a good sign that he’s already shown some improvement. The microscope will be on Bichette though, just because he was a surprise high pick.

Categories : Prospect Profiles


  1. Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

    Would love to see this kid succeed and egg on a lot of faces. A lot of eye-rolling when he was drafted. A long way to go still, though.

    • Brian in NH says:

      I’d like to see the kid succeed more so because we’ll have a really good player on our team, either DBJr or someone we traded for him.

  2. Gonzo says:

    I hope he does well. Better than Eric Duncan ended up being at least. That was a heartbreaker.

  3. Mickey S says:

    So far so good, it was fun watching (reading) him rake in the latter part of the season on DotF. I’m looking forward to constant improvements, and as JJack said seeing egg on the naysayers faces. It’s also great to hear about his intangibles such as his leadership qualities and great work ethic. I hope he sticks at third but it seems unlikely based on some scouting reports.

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

      I think a lot of the scouting reports were done on reputation and before the scouts saw him play. He was a nationally ranked junior tennis player, so I’m sure he has good lateral movement and quickness.

  4. vin says:

    As Mike mentioned, I’m really curious to see where he starts next season. IIRC, they started Slade in ExST, then got temporarily promoted to Charleston (injury fill-in maybe?), and played so well that he forced his way into staying. Hopefully DBJ can also grab the bull by the horns when given his opportunity.

  5. Betty Lizard says:

    I love him. He’s definitely my Prospect Boyfriend, uni-brow and all. Am I the only one who wants the “Bichette Happens” t shirt he was wearing in one of his YouTube videos?

  6. Monteroisdinero says:

    If ever a player was going to get labeled as “The Coach’s Son” it will be this kid for Girardi. He’ll get every chance to make it to the Bronx. I hope he does on his own merits.

    • Plank says:

      a. Huh? What is the Girardi relationship?

      b. You think Girardi makes roster decisions except on the periphery?

      • CP says:

        I believe that Girardi is his godfather. Apparently Girardi and Bichette Sr are very close from when they played together for the Rockies.

      • Steve (different one) says:

        Girardi and Bichette Sr are very tight. Girardi named his son Dante. Thus, a meme is born. Just like Girardi loves Mitre because of the Marlins link.

      • Monteroisdinero says:

        Ranked #108 and we picked him at #51 is a pretty good indication of Girardi having input. The kid may very well turn out to be worth it but he has favored status whether you agree or not.

        • CP says:

          That is not an indication at all that Girardi has input. It’s just an indication that the Yankees had a different ranking than the consensus rankings.

        • Steve (different one) says:

          Was Girardi friends with Culver’s dad?

        • pat says:

          Lolwut? Prob has nothing to do with the fact that he went on to hit .335/.440/.507 and win his league MVP.

          • Monteroisdinero says:

            And I’m sure picks 52-107 had no success as well.

            Whatever guys.

            • Steve (different one) says:

              This statement implies that picks 52-107 mapped to pre-draft rankings 52-107, and that teams all use the same rankings and simply draft them in that order. That’s what happens, right?

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Is Blake Snell Maddon’s godson? Because he was #184 in BA’s rankings and they drafted him the pick after Bichette.

          Does Musgrave have a relationship with the Blue Jays but not Dwight Smith? Musgrave was ranked #90 and they picked him #46, while Smith was #47 and they picked him #53.

          Kevin Matthews a bud of Daniels or Nolan Ryan? He was #105 and they picked him #33.

          • I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

            Exactly. Sorry monteroisdinero but you have a massive misconception about the nature of these rankings, how they are compiled, and what one should and should not infer from them.

            First, any list is ‘one man’s opinion’ (or one institution’s) and no two are ever alike. Thus they are flawed.

            Second, no person or institution can possibly expend the same amount of time and money to scout every player equally, normalize for competition, etc. in other words: thus they are flawed.

            Third, because they are *opinions* of value and not facts, they are flawed.

            Fourth, they are inherently flawed if you approach them as strict rankings. Beyond the concensus top 5-10 range, wherein there is reasonable consensus as to inclusion but even within there is debate on rank order), the usefulness doesn’t really extend beyond what I’d call buckets or tiers. Think of it as a rather flat pyramid. A few obviously top top top guys who are chosen with the first few picks, a couple dozen in the next tier, several dozen in the tier beyond that, and a couple-3 hundred in the tier beyond that.

            Sizes of the tiers is ultimately arbitrary but the point stands. It’s within these middle and lower tiers where the flawed nature of the rankings is most pronounced (e.g. It makes signing the 108th prospect with the 51st pick seem terrible!) but in fact between the flaws noted above, the specific needs, goals, evaluation approach, budget, etc. etc. etc. of the drafting team, drawing ANY conclusion about how he will fare as a player, or ‘value for the pick’ based on rank vs pick is simply wrongheaded for anything other than the absolute obvious (for example – if the nat’s hadn’t chosen Strasburg with the top pick that would’ve been indefensible).

            • I Live In My Mom's Basement says:

              BA compiles the lists based on a “consensus” of MLB scouts that they talk to. In other words, they rely on the scouts that are willing to share their rankings with BA. Now, I ask you, why would a scout working for an MLB team share his private rankings with BA? Hmmmm…

          • Steve (different one) says:

            Exactly. Now, to be fair to Monteroisdinero, I wouldn’t be surprised if the relationship played SOME part in Bichette becoming a Yankee. For example, this might be what got Bichette on their radar and lead them to scout him more. But that is NOT the same as saying they picked him over other players they liked more. They may have seen him more than other teams, but because of that, they have more info and a better read on his talent level. I could see that. What I don’t believe is that the Yankees would waste a pick as a favor, which seems to be the implication of the meme…

            • Ted Nelson says:

              Yeah, I think Girardi probably had some input… maybe even a lot. If appeasing Girardi was their primary goal they also could have waited till the second round to either take DB or say “shucks, couldn’t get him.” I also don’t think it’s at all unusual for guys ranked ~100-110 to go ~45-55. Seems pretty common really.

            • Thomas says:

              Girardi probably had a lot of input on Bichette in terms of personality. Girardi obviously knows Bichette personally, so he has first hand knowledge of his overall demeanor, attitude, and work ethic, which for most other prospects that knowledge is extremely limited. I would not be surprised if this improved his stock with the Yankees slightly. However, had Bichette not been a good prospect to begin with, I am sure Girardi wasn’t going to sway Cashman and Oppenhiemer into drafting him in the supplemental round.

      • aladane says:

        Girardi is the godfather to DB Jr- I believe Girardi and DB Sr were teammates and friends with the Rockies, their inaugral season. To the point that Girardi named one of his kids after being friends and teammates with DB Sr.

  7. Plank says:

    I was trying to find a picture of his mother, but couldn’t. His father is one of the most hideous man not only in baseball, but on on Earth. Junior averaged out to normal looking/slightly odd looking. His mom must be a stone cold fox.

  8. Ted Nelson says:

    Putting much stock in the pre-draft consensus outside the top ~20 prospects is kind of odd given how often it’s wrong. It’s something like looking at a stock index that has historically lost money and trying to tie your portfolio to it.

    Not to mention how subjective the difference is between the, say, #40 prospect who is a LHP from a HS in California vs., say, the #108 prospect who is a 3B from a HS in Florida. Mike, I’ve seen you say there’s not much difference over maybe 10 spots in your top 30 Yankee prospect rankings. Those rankings are among a finite number of established prospects in one system. The pre-draft rankings are among thousands of amateurs playing against hundreds of slightly different levels of competition across the country with metal bats.

    • Rookie says:

      Well stated, Ted.

    • Slugger27 says:

      im with you, ted. after the top 20, the pre-draft rankings should be largely irrelevant.

      why isnt mike or other a fan of bichettes? theres gotte be something besides the old, tired “hes not an up the middle player” meme. hes an incredible athlete we should expect good defense and power from a position thats very weak league wide. whats not to like? i dont follow….

    • I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

      Exactly. This booing of the pick is truly mind boggling.

      • I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

        Oh and yes I would’ve said this even if he hadn’t completely kicked ass this year.

      • Slugger27 says:

        to be fair, most of the booing is because 1) mike didnt like the pick and 2) hudson boyd and josh bell got taken a few picks later.

        i dont think anyone was actually booing based on any knowledge of the player at all. mikes great on here and smarter than the vast majority of us (myself included), so if he states on the record he doesnt like a pick, then thats all most commenters need.

        • Gonzo says:

          It wasn’t just Mike. A lot of respected baseball writers did not like the pick.

        • Mister Delaware says:

          2) And Dillon Howard, who lasted another dozen or so picks. That was the guy whose scouting report I fell in love with.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          But to me getting worked up over a player you have little knowledge of is exactly the problem.

          The next biggest problem is probably going to be when in all likelihood DB doesn’t turn into an amazing player and some guy drafted later does. Especially if it’s Blake Snell, who was ranked much lower by BA… but is a Ray.

          • I Live In My Mom's Basement says:

            Exactly. And, unlike football, most of the knowledge of these “respected baseball writers” is second hand. In college football, you can watch 500 hours of easily-accessible video per year and you will have seen pretty much everything worth seeing. It’s not like that in amateur baseball.

    • Mister Delaware says:

      I’d say top 23.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      The other thing about the draft is that we don’t know if DB was #1 on their draft board, #51 on their board, or anywhere in between.

      • Gonzo says:

        We also don’t know if he was worse than #51 on their board but chose him for various reasons.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          I’m assuming that they include those reasons on their board. As in the board of who they would actually draft at that spot.

          • Gonzo says:

            So then their board might include such variables such as signability, money, character, etc…, and therefore, might not be just about percieved talent.

            They may take a lesser talented player because of certain variables then, right?

            • Ted Nelson says:

              I don’t think I ever said differently. You’re drafting the person, not the batting practice talent. You’re looking for the best draft pick overall including all of those factors.

      • Craig Maduro says:

        So its kind of like how I have CP3, Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo, Stephen Curry and John Wall ranked ahead of Derrick Rose on my Fantasy NBA rankings. I get booed for passing on a player ranked higher by the “industry”, but ultimately I get the guy that fits my philosophy and my scheme.

        And like the Yankees I continue to compete for and win championships.

        Sorry for the personal back-patting, but I couldn’t help but make the analogy.

  9. Gio says:

    Kind of looks like a white Montero.

  10. JobaWockeeZ says:

    I’m not Bichette’s biggest fan.

    Prepare for the essays of what stupid you are Mike. I feel for you.

    • Slugger27 says:

      well, an explanation wouldve been nice…

      • Mister Delaware says:

        I think a lot of us had the same basic explanation and have given it over and over. In the 1st round, unless you’re taking a perceived can’t miss 3-4-5 hammer, you like to see either a super upsidey SP or an up-the-middle position player. Taking a four corners guy, especially one that the concensus had in the 2nd or 3rd round, was disappointing strictly from a strategy standpoint. Nothing personal against the kid.

        • Slugger27 says:

          a couple things…

          it wasnt truly the first round, it was the supplemental round, and the kid was picked 51st. ive yet to see a cant miss stud on the 51st pick in the 7 years ive actually followed the draft.

          the four corners guy actually is a potential 3-4-5 hammer, the same one you stated you were seeking.

          3b has the same positional advantage as 2b, and is just as weak if not weaker league wide.

          • Mister Delaware says:

            “ive yet to see a cant miss stud on the 51st pick in the 7 years ive actually followed the draft.”

            Absolutely, which is why I’d rather go for the upside SP or up-the-middle player. If we’re agreeing the better probability elite prospects are gone by that point, I don’t want to pick a position that’s easier to fill elsewhere.

            “the four corners guy actually is a potential 3-4-5 hammer, the same one you stated you were seeking.”

            Potential but not probable or close to probable. That was my point. A guy like Smoak, sure, because he’s got probability. Bichette or another #51 slot guy, not so much.

            “3b has the same positional advantage as 2b, and is just as weak if not weaker league wide.”

            To pick an arbitrary cutoff, fWAR has 10 guys at both positions over 3.0 wins last year, so you’re right that production is about the same. I’d disagree with the reason though. Much like how 1Bs actually have higher annual batting lines than DHs, its not because its easier to hit and play the field than just hit, its because better players stick at 1B rather than go to DH. I’d argue the most complete athletes are at SS, the second most are shifting to 2B. Basically, there’s a far better chance your 2B could shift to 3B than vice versa.

            • Mister Delaware says:

              (… most complete athletes in the IF, I should say. Don’t want to mix in CFs here.)

            • Ted Nelson says:

              Assuming both prospects have the same chances of making it… sure, you take the guy at the harder to fill position. If you think one guy projects much better, though, your argument flies out the window. You’re assuming all these prospects project equally, which isn’t the case for a team that actually scouts them extensively.

              “Potential but not probable or close to probable.”

              In your opinion… which isn’t necessarily close to right.

              “I’d argue the most complete athletes are at SS, the second most are shifting to 2B.”

              SS is a scarcer position than either 2B or 3B.

              • Mister Delaware says:

                “Assuming both prospects have the same chances of making it… sure, you take the guy at the harder to fill position. If you think one guy projects much better, though, your argument flies out the window.”

                Lets see, you’re droning on about the obvious for a couple sentences … if my study of your trends are accurate, the next sentence will be the one where you simplify and caricaturize the other side’s argument to set yourself up for what I assume you believe is a clever debunking …

                “You’re assuming all these prospects project equally, which isn’t the case for a team that actually scouts them extensively.”

                Nailed it.

                “In your opinion… which isn’t necessarily close to right.”

                But also not necessarily close to wrong.

                “SS is a scarcer position than either 2B or 3B.”

                Good stuff, Ted. Good stuff.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          That’s nothing more than your preconceived notion of a good draft strategy.

          • Mister Delaware says:

            That’s nothing more than a comment responding to my comment.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              Draft based on position… that’s basically your theory?

              • Ted Nelson says:

                My point, by the way, was that simply listing your opinion and saying the Yankees disagree with you… not very convincing.

              • Mister Delaware says:

                “Draft based on position… that’s basically your theory?”

                Yes, to fit this into your everyone-is-a-less-intelligent-absolutist-except-for-I world, that is exactly what I mean. Regardless of talent, you should take a catcher in the first round, a SS in the second round, a SP in the third and so on.

                • Ted Nelson says:

                  “In the 1st round, unless you’re taking a perceived can’t miss 3-4-5 hammer, you like to see either a super upsidey SP or an up-the-middle position player.”

                  You literally said that you like to see guys at certain positions and not others taken in the first round. You can avoid the issue all you want. That’s literally what you’ve said, so I asked you if that’s what you meant. You like a premium position with upside over

                  Lots of can’t miss guys miss and plenty of successful power hitters were not can’t miss prospects.

                  • Mister Delaware says:

                    “You literally said that you like to see guys at certain positions and not others taken in the first round.”

                    Close. I said once the elite, higher probability 4 corner guys are gone (using Smoak as an example), I prefer taking SPs or guys who profile at C/SS/2B/CF.

                    “Lots of can’t miss guys miss and plenty of successful power hitters were not can’t miss prospects.”

                    Lots of can’t miss guys didn’t miss and plenty of unsuccessful hitters were not can’t miss prospects.

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      I feel that’s overly simplistic.

                      Your strategy still comes down to whether or not DB was an elite prospect… which is where the Yankees might differ from BA, Keith Law, etc.

                    • Mister Delaware says:

                      I feel your response is overly simplistic. Applying my “theory”, even if the Yankees did view Bichette as elite, there’s still the matter of every other available SP, C, 2B, SS and CF.

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      Exactly… projecting his value compared to all other available prospects and an overall draft plan is the way to go.

                      “Draft middle, not corner.” Is overly simplistic.

                      If you have not taken the time to scout the players yourself, I don’t see much value in just guesstimating that maybe the middle guys would have come out ahead in your analysis if you had actually bothered to perform one.

                    • Mister Delaware says:

                      I’m saying the odds of a corner being the highest player on my hypothetical draft board at #51 would be lower than most hypothetical draft boards because I’d probably give greater weight to position than most. So, based on what I’ve read, Howard would have been ranked higher than Bichette on said board. And if I were actually scouting, I imagine if it weren’t Howard it would be someone else I loved at one of those positions who would have been higher than Bichette.

                      This isn’t as tough as you make it.

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      I’m saying your hypothetical draft board sucks.

                    • Mister Delaware says:

                      Sometimes intended insults are actually compliments. You know what I mean, Ted?

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      Sometimes jokes are mistaken for insults, you know what I mean Delaware?

                      Seriously, though, obviously you factor positional scarcity into your projections of draft prospects. What bothers me is your insistence that middle of the field players are so much more valuable than corner guys that even with no actual knowledge of these players you react negatively to a corner guy just because he’s a corner guy. That strikes me as ridiculous.

                    • Mister Delaware says:

                      Which is why its stated as merely a concept and preference. Its why I didn’t lose my mind over Culver.

                    • Mister Delaware says:

                      Curious, while we’re at it, would you react negatively to a reliever at #51 simply because he’s a reliever?

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      I think you can argue that reliever is a role and pitcher is a position.

                      However, not necessarily. If you take a “sure thing” reliever like a Drew Storen (went #10) or Huston Street (went #40), for example, at #51 pretty confident you’re at least going to get some MLB contribution… that’s more than the average #51 pick is probably going to give you. Not that #51 alone is the best sample, but:

                      It’s a low risk, high probability play rather than a high risk, low probability play. Even if you only get, say, 3 fWAR in his 6 seasons of team control, that’s 3 more than you’d expect from the average pick around that area.

                      If you’re taking a HS kid that high he’s probably at least starting out as a SP with RP as a fallback. So I assume you’re taking an elite NCAA reliever like Street or Storen at #51.

                    • Mister Delaware says:

                      Does the college reliever you’re talking about even exist? Ryan Perry, Josh Fields …

  11. Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

    In the 70s, 80s and 90s when I subscribed to Yankees Magazine, I used to follow prospects from the very beginning. Derek Jeter in paricular. I followed him closely as well as Don Mattingly, and others. The one that hurts most is Brien Taylor who lost it off the field. I was sure he was going to be the ace for a long time.

    • Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

      To finish this off I surely hope that Dante Jr. hits as good or better than his father was at Coors field.

    • ColoYank says:

      Jose, compadre,

      I’m with you, man. I’ve been following the Yankees’ minor league players for too many decades to acknowledge. I still feel the black mood come over me when I remember them trading away Scott McGregor, Rick Dempsey, and Tippy Martinez to get Ken Holtzman and Doyle Alexander. June 15, 1976. That was crap, pure Steinbrenner crap.

  12. Monteroisdinero says:

    Guys-looking at that pic of Dante holding the bat makes me raise a question. I know he is not hitting in the pic but lots of “power bat” guys hold the bat with the bottom hand small finger below/off the knob. Why not just get a longer/heavier bat and keep all fingers above the knob? Is it helpful to have one finger essentially off the bat? Are 9 fingers better than 10 to generate power? Let’s get to an an analysis of this while things are still boring in Yankeeland.

    • I Live In My Mom's Basement says:

      The tenth finger is for counterbalance, just like a cat’s tail. It’s the same principle as holding a tea cup.

      I hope everyone realized I was just kidding.

    • Craig Maduro says:

      Style over substance.

    • CS Yankee says:

      I had a player that did that and he said it kept him from over-squeezing that bat; if the pinkie touch the palm, he was gripping it too hard (thus slowing the bat).

      While I don’t know if thats true or not, the power you question (in having only 9) reminds me of the Spinal Tap movie (Mashall amps go to 11 in case your rocking at 10 and need a little more).

      It should have no power relation…number of arms or muscles do, but energy isn’t thru the fingers but rather the speed of the bat. The fingers just need to be tight enough not to lose the bat as energy is not transferred thru them in swinging.

      • Craig Maduro says:

        Slightly disagree with the wording here. Energy isn’t generated by the fingers during the swing, but I think it is transferred through the fingers in a swing. I can’t back this up scientifically, but I do remember the pain in my fingers whenever I got jammed.

    • Mister Delaware says:

      I don’t know if its true physics wise (because I suck at anything science) but it makes you feel like you can more easily extend and roll your bottom hand on the finish. I’d bet most guys who hold the bat with 9 fingers also finish with the top hand off.

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