The New York Yankees had to wait nearly four hours to make a selection Monday night on Day 1 of the 2011 MLB Draft. When they did, 51st overall, they used the selection on Dante Bichette, a right-handed hitting third baseman from Orangewood Christian High School in Florida.
John Sickels of Minor League Ball recently had Bichette ranked 71st among prospects on his draft board.
Sickels had this to say about Bichette:
University of Georgia commitment. Power hitter, reminds scouts of his dad at the same age. Might not hit for a great average at higher levels, but power should push him forward. Good throwing arm, not a bad third baseman right now though some project him as a right fielder. Would be a first rounder in some drafts but more likely a supplemental or second round guy this year.
Yes, the name should be familiar to you. Date Bichette Sr. was a slugging outfielder who had a 14-year career with a number of big-league teams. He hit 274 home runs in his career, including a high of 40 with Colorado in 1995, and finished with a career batting average of .299.
Here is a little more on Bichette from MLB Draft Guide:
One of the top prep power hitters in the country. He is a pull hitter with excellent bat speed. Some adjustments to his swing may have to be made, including cutting down on lifting his front foot while hitting.
Bichette has played shortstop in high school, but projects to third at the next level. He has a strong, accurate arm and good hands.
Sounds like the Yankees, who need some power bats in their minor-league system, have followed their usual style of taking a risk that they could sign a player others might have shied away from. If he can hit like his dad, it might be a risk worth taking.