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.”
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.
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…
Dante Bichette Jr. | 3B/OF
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
The Yankees are off tonight, so here’s an open thread to hold everyone over. Of course, the draft begins at 7pm ET (MLB Network) and I’ll be liveblogging it, so hopefully you’ll come join me then. Use this thread as you see fit tonight, anything goes.
With Mike’s live-chat and the draft just 90 minutes away, let’s jump in with some links. Thanks to David for the new name for this semi-regular section.
- Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and David Robertson share their draft-day memories. [Wall Street Journal]
- WIth news that Daisuke Matsuzaka needs Tommy John surgery, William at The Captain’s Blog wonders if Kei Igawa was a better investment than the uber-hyped Matsuzaka.
- Derek Jeter knows fans want him to get to 3000 during the Yanks’ 10-game homestand, but just once this year has Jeter knocked out the 14 hits he needs for milestone over a 10-game span. [Daily News]
- Joel Sherman searches for a reason behind the overall offensive decline in baseball. [Post]
- A-Rod and Cameron Diaz have reportedly broken up… [Daily News]
- …or perhaps they did not. [TBL].