Third base has been an interesting position for the Yankees over the past few years. The Alex Rodriguez saga. The emergence of Yangervis Solarte. The then trade of Solarte to the Padres for Chase Headley. The re-signing of Headley for the next four seasons. The Yankees drafted Eric Jagielo with one of their three first round picks a couple years ago. What about Dante Bichette?
Bichette was the Yankees first round pick in 2011. While guys like Greg Bird and Jake Cave are being invited to big league camp after being drafted below him, Bichette just reached AA Trenton this past season.
He was picked ahead of Brad Miller, Daniel Norris and top prospect Josh Bell of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bichette has had a bit of a slow come up for the Yankees. 2013 was a bit of a low point in his development. In his second year at Charleston, he hit just .214 with a .623 OPS.
Bichette was moved up to High-A Tampa and flourished, hitting .271 with 27 doubles and making the All-Star Game. He got a little taste of AA, playing in 18 games and should be the AA third baseman this year.
Bichette won’t turn 23 until the end of next September, and still has time to develop to be a part of the Yankees future plans. He hasn’t hit the homers that people thought he could, especially given his father’s reputation as a power hitter.
Bichette needs to go out and hit in AA. If he does, he could find himself in AAA as soon as this year. With the Yankees undergoing a youth movement, Bichette can force his way onto the Yankees radar.
Not only do the Yankees have Jagielo looking to pass Bichette, but Miguel Andujar as well. Jose Pirela can also play the position. Bichette played a game at first last season and may be in his best interest to learn to play there to make him more versatile and attractive piece.
2015 is going to be a big year for Bichette. Can he fulfill the promise of a first round pick? Or will he not make it?