The RAB Radio Show: June 7, 2011

The Yanks had just one pick in the draft yesterday, but it certainly caught people’s attention. Mike and I talk a bit about Dante Bichette Jr., but more about how this plays into the Yankees’ draft philosophy and why they’ve gone against the grain of traditional rankings in the past few years. We also look forward to the high-ceiling, signability players available on Day 2.

Podcast run time 21:54

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Intro music: “Die Hard” courtesy of reader Alex Kresovich. Thanks to Tyler Wilkinson for the graphic.

2011 Draft: Day Two LiveBlog

Now we’re talking. Day one of the draft is all about bells and whistles, MLB’s attempt to increase the popularity of the draft by broadcasting it and what not. That’s fine and I completely understand why they’re doing it, but unfortunately baseball’s draft just isn’t a made-for-TV event. Five minutes between picks is about four and a half too long, and frankly I don’t think any of us wants to hear the MLB Network announcers declare every pick great (in one way or another).

With that behind us, we’re back to the roots of the draft. All the picks from here on out will be made via conference call, which you can listen too via MLB.com’s Draft Tracker. The picks will come rapid fire, one after another, which is the way it should be. Last year’s day two liveblog lasted almost eight hours, so I hope your schedule is empty today. Here is the draft order, the liveblog is after the jump and begins promptly at noon ET…

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Pettitte: ‘I don’t think I will ever pitch again’

For those of you holding out hope that Andy Pettitte will have a change of heart and return the Yankees either later this year or next, well you can pretty much forget about it. Pettitte appeared on The Michael Kay Show yesterday, telling the host “I’m not dying to be playing baseball right now … I’m absolutely loving being home … I don’t think I will ever pitch again.” Andy coaches his son’s Pony League team and plays on his church softball team, but otherwise he’s just loving the retired life. “I’m just another dad out there.”

2011 Draft: Day One Links

The Yankees used the 51st overall pick in the draft to select Dante Bichette Jr. last night, the fourth straight year (and sixth time in eight years) they’ve selected a high school player with their top choice. Much like the regular season, the baseball draft is a marathon and not a sprint, and there are still two days and 49 more rounds left in this thing. Rounds two through 30 will take place later today (beginning at noon ET), which I’ll again be liveblogging. Until then, let’s round up some links that recap day one and look ahead to day two…

  • It’s worth noting that the Yankees announced Bichette as a third baseman both at the podium and in the press release. He figures to move to left field down the road, but they’re going to see if he can stick at the hot corner first. Might as well, no harm in trying. If you want to follow him on Twitter, Bichette’s handle is @Dante19Jr.
  • Jason Churchill of ESPN broke down all of yesterday’s picks (first round, sandwich, Insider req’d), saying this about Bichette: “He has good makeup and is a future outfielder with a strong arm and some power potential. The hit tool is a question, however.” That’s a pretty big question when you’re talking about a corner outfielder.
  • Keith Law posted a winners and losers type of post (Insider only), and the Yankees made neither category. I guess that’s good. The winners were basically all the teams with extra picks, the losers the teams that really cheaped out (Braves, Rangers, Dodgers).
  • Within that same post, KLaw listed his best available players. Here’s the same from Baseball America (no subs. req’d). Of those players, it’s worth noting that Josh Bell may be unsignable and that Matt Purke’s shoulder is a huge, huge question mark. The Yankees have been linked to Dillon Howard though, and we’re well behind the point where his talent says he should have gone. I get the feeling that Bell will fall big time, into the double digit rounds. Just a hunch though.
  • MLB Draft Insider did a pass/fail post, giving the Yankees a failing grade for the Bichette pick. “There are far too many good talents still out there for this to be acceptable from the Yankees.” Well then.

The Yankees will be picking 28th in each round from this point forward (save for the silly compensation third round, which is all of one pick), so their first choice is 88th overall today. They’ve gone overslot for day two players consistently during the Damon Oppenheimer era, which is where they’ve had most of their success. I can’t imagine they won’t do the same today.

2011 Draft: Yankees take Dante Bichette Jr. with 51st overall pick

Without a first round pick because of the Rafael Soriano signing, the Yankees did not pick until 51st overall on Monday night. They used that pick to take the son of a former big leaguer…

(Photo Credit: Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda/Orlando Sentinel)

Dante Bichette Jr. | 3B/OF

Background
Obviously, Bichette Jr. is the son of former All-Star Dante Bichette, who hit .299/.336/.499 with 274 homers in a career that spanned five teams and parts of 14 seasons. Junior attends Orangewood Christian High School in Orlando, and he first came into the public eye when he helped his team to the Little League World Series in 2005. He’s committed to Georgia.

Scouting Report
A right-handed hitter, Bichette offers bat speed and huge raw power, though there’s a lot of moving parts in his swing and he often sells out for the long ball. He’ll have to cut down on the movement and shorten up the swing to avoid becoming an all-or-nothing hitter. They won’t be small tweaks. Although he played third base in high school, Bichette is destined for left field long-term because he lacks the quickness needed for the infield. His arm is strong, but the 6-foot-1, 215 pounder isn’t a great runner and only figures to slow down as he gets older. Here’s some video.

Miscellany
Following the pick, scouting director Damon Oppenheimer said Bichette “possesses the desire and drive to be a special major leaguer” with the “potential to hit for big power in the middle of the order,” which is kinda what he has to say. The Bichettes are close friends of the Girardis, and in fact Joe’s son is named Dante after his former Rockies’ teammate. That has nothing to do with anything, but I figured it was worth a mention.

Unless he shows big time improvement in the field, Bichette is only going to offer value at the plate. That said, his power is very real, some of the best in the draft, and that’s a tool that’s getting harder and harder to find these days. There’s just not much to like about the rest of the package. Dante Jr. is a limited player, and frankly the skill set sounds a whole lot like what Shelley Duncan brought to the table when he was drafted. I have no idea what kind of money we’re looking at here, but MLB’s slot recommendation for the 51st overall pick is approximately $695,000. I can’t imagine Bichette’s bonus would deviate much from that, if at all.

Baseball America ranked him as the 108th best prospect in the draft, though he did not make Keith Law‘s latest top 100 draft prospects list.

Suttle homers twice as Banuelos gets rocked

Austin Romine was unsurprisingly placed on the disabled list today; he had missed a few days with a sore back and neck following a collision at the plate. Jason Place took his spot on the roster. Carlos Silva was also placed on the disabled list today, likely due to the stiff shoulder that forced him to miss yesterday’s starter. P.J. Pilittere took his place on the roster, and Triple-A Scranton might need the extra catcher because Jesus Montero is battling an eye infection. Fun stuff.

We’re going to recapping the minor league action bullet point-style over the next few days because of the draft, just FYI. Let’s get into tonight’s action…

  • Triple-A Scranton lost. Jorge Vazquez hit his 19th homer and D.J. Mitchell uncharacteristically struck out ten in six innings. That’s pretty much it.
  • Double-A Trenton is still playing in extra innings. All you need to know is that Manny Banuelos got crushed: 4 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 3 K. Oh, and Corban Joseph homered. So did Bradley Suttle. Twice.
  • High-A Tampa won. Kelvin Castro and Zoilo Almonte both went deep. Sean Blackk threw six scoreless, a much needed solid start for him.
  • Low-A Charleston lost. Slade Heathcott had a hit and walk, but both J.R. Murphy and Gary Sanchez went hitless. Jose Ramirez had a strong start, throwing six scoreless.

2011 Draft: Day One LiveBlog

Tonight’s draft broadcast will begin at 7pm ET on MLB Network (simulcast on MLB.com), and from the looks of things, it’ll last about four hours. A total of 60 picks will be made tonight, covering the first and supplemental first rounds. The Yankees will be making just one pick (51st overall) tonight while the Rays lead the way with nine (!!!). The Tigers are the only team that will not make a pick tonight, their first rounder went to the Red Sox for Victor Martinez. The full draft order can be found here.

Use this to talk about all things draft. The regular nightly open thread can be found here for everything else. Please follow our ground rules and keep your conversations in the appropriate places (same rules as last year, no sense in re-posting them). The next three days will be both hectic and fun, so thanks for helping keep things orderly. Fun starts after the jump…

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