Sep 13, 2011, 7:00 PM EST
Many thought Dante Bichette Jr. was an overdraft when the Yankees made him the 51st overall selection this year, but he was a big early success for the Bombers and he was rewarded Tuesday by being named the Gulf Coast League MVP.
Bichette, an 18-year-old third baseman, hit .342/.446/.505 with three homers and 47 RBI in 196 at-bats for the GCL Yankees. He moved up to short-season Single-A Staten Island at the end of the year and went 1-for-8.
As far as Bichette’s status as a prospect, the excellent showing against fellow 18-year-olds definitely helps, though given his background, he always figured to be one of the most advanced players of the league. Time will tell whether he can last at third base or if he’ll require a move to the outfield. Home run power also figures to be a major issue, though that he hit just three homers this year doesn’t mean much.
Bichette’s performance makes him a virtual lock to open next year in the South Atlantic League with the Charleston RiverDogs. He should be able to maintain solid averages throughout the chain. One year each in the Sally League and the Florida State League would put him in Double-A as a 21-year-old in 2014, and by then it should be clear whether he has a future as a major leaguer.
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