50 in 50: Dante Bichette

Draft : : Top Prospects
David Rawnsley        
Published: Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dante Bichette
3B / Orangewood Christian High School

Height/Weight: 6-1/205
Hometown: Orlando, Fla.
College Commitment: Georgia
Birthdate: Sept. 26, 1992

Bichette is, of course, the son of the former big-league outfielder of the same name. Dad played 14 years in the majors, slamming 274 home runs. He also was second in the 1995 National League MVP race (.340-40-128 in the friendly confines of Coors Field) and joined the rare 30/30 club the following year (31 HR/31 SB). Dante Jr. is cut from the same mould in many respects. A notable difference between the two is that the younger Bichette comes with a lot more hype than his dad had. Dante Sr. went undrafted out of high school, and was a mere 17th-rounder in 1984 out of Palm Beach CC. His son has been heavily exposed in showcases and travel-league competition, and should be drafted much higher in June, likely in the top 2-3 rounds. Bichette is a righthanded hitter, like his dad, and has the same very aggressive swing that creates outstanding raw bat speed. He hits from an exaggerated open, spread stance that concerns some scouts because he often doesn’t come close to closing his hips at contact, or becoming directional to the pitcher. Few pitchers at the high-school level can spot the ball consistently to the outside corner, especially with off-speed stuff, to exploit Bichette’s apparent vulnerability to pitches on the outer half. But it could prove to be a challenge for Bichette at the next level that may demand adjustments in his approach. On the other hand, throw something middle-in on Bichette, especially with some velocity on it, and he’ll destroy it. Balls typically explode off his barrel and he can easily reach the fences to all parts of the field. Bichette hit a resounding .597-9-37 as a junior at Orangewood Christian High, and .640-10-40 this spring. Admittedly, the level of competition he has faced in high school is inferior to the pitching he normally sees in the summer and fall, but he typically hit in the middle of the lineup last year for powerful FTB Mizuno, and was surrounded in the order by fellow top Florida prep prospects like Francisco Lindor, Dan Vogelbach and Tyler Marlette—all elite prospects for this year’s draft. Defense is another area where Son strongly resembles Father. The elder Bichette was never known as a defensive standout in right field, though had a powerful throwing arm. His son has played plenty of shortstop as a teenager, and though he has acceptable 7.0 speed in the 60, he lacks the ideal lateral foot quickness to play shortstop at a higher level. Likewise, he has enough arm strength to touch 90 mph off the mound, but a slow release handicaps that tool. Scouts envision Bichette adapting nicely to third base as a professional (his dad played 64 games of third base in the minor leagues), before an outfield corner position or first base comes into play. Moving away from all the obvious comparisons to his father, the player in the current high-school draft class that Bichette most closely resembles is probably California slugger Travis Harrison, another prodigious righthanded slugger whose eventual defensive position is a secondary concern to his big bat.

Projected Draft Position:
Second / Third Round.

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