Archive for Dante Bichette Jr.
Joe and I are skipping out on the podcast this week because frankly, there’s nothing to talk about. The big news of the week was Billy Eppler’s promotion, and I said everything that needed to be said about that in this post. Rather than waste 20 minutes talking about nothing, I’ll point you towards these minor league interviews that I’ve been hording over the last few days and weeks…
- The Jacksonville Daily News interviewed 2012 14th rounder Rookie Davis, who spoke about his offseason work, Instructional League, and getting his driver’s license. Some pretty neat stuff in their, so check it out.
- The New England Baseball Journal interviewed 2012 third rounder Jordan Cote about his offseason workouts with Kevin Youkilis, adjusting to life in pro ball, stuff like that.
- Yankees Fans Unite interviewed Low-A Charleston hitting coach Greg Colbrunn, who spoke about a number of the team’s lower level (and some upper level) prospects like Ramon Flores, Gary Sanchez, etc.
- NoMaas interviewed both Tyler Austin and Dante Bichette Jr., two of the club’s best position player prospects.
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.
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 Yankees announced this afternoon that 2011 first rounder Dante Bichette Jr. has been named the MVP of the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League. The third baseman hit .342/.446/.505 in 52 GCL games this year, ranking among the league leaders in AVG (second), OBP (second), SLG (eighth), OPS (fourth), hits (first), doubles (first), RBI (first), total bases (second), and walks (third). The GCL Yanks won the league title thanks in part to Bichette’s game-tying homer in the deciding game, part of his 5-for-14, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 BB, 1 K postseason showing.
Catcher Isaias Tejeda (.331/.404/.568) and shortstop Jose Rosario (.331/.372/.529) were also named to the postseason All-Star Team. GCL Yanks manager Carlos Mendoza was named the league’s Manager of the Year. That team was quite stacked this season, they led the league in AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS, runs, hits, doubles, triples, homers, total bases, and stolen bases.
Original Post (9:03am): Via K. Levine-Flandrup, the Yankees have officially signed top pick Dante Bichette Jr. No word on the signing bonus, but I can’t imagine it’s far off from MLB’s slot recommendation of $694,800. The signing wasn’t expected to take very long at all and it didn’t, so now he’ll likely join the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League Yankees when their season begins on Monday. Alright Dante, time to make the Yankees look smart.
Via K. Levine-Flandrup, the Yankees are close to reaching an agreement with 51st overall pick Dante Bichette Jr. He’ll be in Tampa to take a physical on Tuesday. No word on the money, but I can’t imagine it’s far above slot (which is approximately $695,000), if it is at all. Bichette didn’t figure to be a tough sign or anything, but it’s always good to get the deals done as soon as possible so the kid can get some playing under his belt. Assume the physical goes well, I imagine he’ll report to the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League Yankees in time for their season opener next Monday.
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.