With the 51st pick in the 2011 draft, the Yankees surprised many by selecting outfielder Dante Bichette Jr from Orangewood Christian High School in Orlando. Bichette Jr has great major league bloodlines, as is the son of Dante Bichette, who played 14 seasons in the major leagues and posted a career .299/.336/.499 line, including a ridiculous .340.364/.620 season in 1995. Bichette Jr, well built at 6’1″ 215, put up great numbers this season (albeit against high school competition), batting .640 with 10 homers and 15 steals, though you would expect a high draft pick to dominate high school competition. He also starred in the Little League World Series in 2005, and was once a nationally-ranked tennis player. Bichette is committed to play college baseball at Georgia, though I imagine that he will be signable.
Although Bichette plays infield in high school, a move to an outfield corner is expected due to his lack of exceptional range. He should be athletic enough to handle an outfield postition, with a solid throwing arm. Like his father, Bichette’s strongest tool is his bat, with a solid hit tool and plenty of raw power. He’s also considered to be an exceptionally hard worker, spending many hours at the cage working on perfecting his swing. This dedication is a sign of strong makeup, which often goes along with having a relative who played the game for many years. He at times gets too power-happy according to the scouting reports, so he’ll fit in nicely in the Yankee organization (zing!). At times his swing gets inconsistent, which is something he’ll have to workon as a pro. Bichette’s ceiling is a powerful middle of the order bat who will be an average defender in left field, with the athleticism to steal a few bases here and there. However, his future value will be very tied up in his bat due to his likely location in an outfield corner.
The pick was somewhat of a surprise because nobody had any idea he was on the Yankees’ radar. Several first round talents were available, in the form of Josh Bell, Daniel Norris, and Dillon Howard. Baseball America had Bichette ranked at the #108 prospect in the draft class, and he did not crack Frankie Piliere’s top 100. Going by the rankings, Bichette looks like a bit of an overdraft, but clearly the Yankees were not afraid to buck conventional wisdom and take the guy they liked best (as they did with Cito Culver last year). A lot of people will be upset at this one, but I am definitely intrigued by Bichette’s talents. The Yankees could certainly use more power bats in the system, and to add one with a great work ethic and major league bloodlines is a nice bonus. I wonder if he would have been available in the 2nd round, but clearly the Yankees took the guy they liked, and I can’t argue with that. Bichette likely won’t be an exceptionally expensive sign, which will leave the Yankees plenty of cash to take some tough signs in the middle rounds. Hopefully he’ll sign early and get most of a GCL season in like Culver did last year.
Here’s what the Yankees’ vice president of amateur scouting Damon Oppenheimer had to say about Bichette (via press release): “Dante is one of the guys in this draft we thought had an impact bat and the potential to hit for big power in the middle of the order.” “He’s someone with an advanced makeup and work ethic who possesses the desire and drive to be a special major leaguer.”
The draft continues tomorrow beginning at noon with rounds 2-30, and can be viewed online at mlb.com. We will have another live chat with a number of authors and commenters participating, so feel free to stop by and share your thoughts or just check out what we’re thinking. Thanks for everyone who participated in the live chat tonight, it was a great time. There are definitely some interesting talents available tomorrow, including the aforementioned Bell, Norris, and Howard, as well as Oregon C Andrew Susac, HS C Austin Hedges, and several outfielders from my Big Board (Derek Fisher, Granden Goetzman, William Jerez). Matt Purke is lurking as well, though he may fall far. It should be another fun draft day to follow, and I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on how far the tough signs fall.
Dante’s apparently also on Twitter, so follow away you creepers.
LIKE TYA ON FACEBOOK
- TYA To Merge With It’s About The Money, Stupid
- What about Kevin Youkilis?
- Teix Now Front And Center On The “Needs To Produce” Radar
- Cashman: Heathcott A Dark Horse Candidate
- A Dog Chasing Cars
- Outfield Trade Targets
- The Problem With Brett Gardner
- A Look At Relief Prospect Branden Pinder
- The Yankees Should Be Realistic, Put Team on Short Leash in 2013
- Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- Brand bc on Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- http://2804lasela.wordpress.com/ on TYA Predictions: Bold predictions for 2012
- the tao of badass pdf on What about Austin Romine?
- Joey Parkhill on Dante Bichette Jr’s Swing
- lululemon factory outlet on Contact Us
- Cary on Will R.A. Dickey’s Knuckleball Succeed In A Domed Stadium?
- Brenna on Links: Prospects, Support for A-Rod, Mariano is Love and Who’s in Center?
- Louis Vuitton Outlet Sale Singapore on The Monthly Prospector: April Edition
- Authentic Louis Vuitton Outlet Store on The Monthly Prospector: June Edition
- Louis Vuitton Outlet San Diego on Banuelos to Undergo Tommy John Surgery, Yankees Prospectors to Undergo Grief Counseling
TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees