The High-A Tampa Yankees had an overabundance of top notch third baseman coming into August. It appears that Eric Jagielo will be the everyday third baseman in Tampa for the remainder of 2014 as Dante Bichette, Jr. was promoted to the Double-A Trenton Thunder today. According to Matt Kardos via Twitter, he is expected to start at third tomorrow night for the Thunder and take over the position for the remainder of the season.
DBJ was selected 51st overall by the Yankees in the second round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft. He had a spectacular 2011 debut for the Gulf Coast League slashing .342/.446/.505 for the GCL Yankees 1 team. His .951 OPS that season left Yankees brass drooling at what could be. He hit a bit of a bump in his sophomore season after a promotion to the Low-A Charleston RiverDogs batting .248 with just three home runs. The power returned in his second full season with Charleston in 2013, but the batting average and on base percentage dropped to worrisome lows. Entering 2014, with prized prospect Eric Jagielo on his heels for playing time, DBJ seemed to throw it all together.
Bichette, Jr. is amid his finest season yet in the Yankees farm system. He was batting .271 with nine home runs on the year for Tampa prior to today’s promotion. More importantly, his RBI production has returned (64 on the year) and his on base percentage is respectable again at .352. He won an FSL Player of the Week Award back in May and was then named a Florida State League All Star this season as well. The soon-to-be 22-year old is certainly trending in the right direction. DBJ seems poised and ready to continue his upward surge at the next level.