Bichette Making Quick Adjustments

Bichette is hitting .407 in July

Dante Bichette Jr. came into his first professional baseball season surrounded by hype. And rightfully so. Drafted by the Yankees in the first round, with the 51st overall pick, Bichette is the son of a four-time All-Star. His size and swing excited scouts and fans but when he joined the Gulf Coast League squad in June, his numbers were less than stellar.

Bichette posted a .159 batting average through his first 13 games. He did show the potential of a keen eye though as he still managed to walk 15 times and accumulate an impressive on-base percentage of .371. It took a couple weeks, but the highly touted first round pick started to figure things out in July.

"The main thing for him is getting used to professional pitching," GCL hitting coach Edwar Gonzalez said. "There's guys who throw very hard here.

"The competition is not very similar to what it was in high school. But he has the ability to make adjustments really quick. After a week of facing pitchers here, he was like, ‘I gotta simplify my load and not try to do too much.' He's doing great."

Great is an understatement. Through his past 10 games, Bichette is hitting .575 with an on-base plus slugging percentage of 1.529. His July hot streak has his batting average on the year up to .336.

The 18-year-old third baseman says it's not a product of any big mechanical change. Just getting his feet wet.

"Honestly, I've just been out here longer," Bichette said. "I'm just fitting in more and I'm getting comfortable with everything."

On July 26, the GCL Yankees were down 9-3 heading into the home half of the 8th inning. Bichette's hitting highlighted what was a truly special day for the team. They scored nine runs in the 8th and won 12-9 as Bichette went 4-4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored.

"I think that was our biggest [comeback] yet," Bichette said with a smile after the game. "We were down by a few runs. Our team can definitely hit. Everyone came together, got some key hits in key situations and some good base running. It all fell into place for us."

On Bichette's double, he was almost thrown out after not running hard on a ball down the left field line. The ball looked liked a sure two-base hit off the bat but he needed a slide and a close play to be safe. He said his base-running is probably the area he could use the most improvement.

"The defense, their arms, they throw a little harder so they keep me on my toes," Bichette said. "I need to be a little bit more heads up out there."

As a player drafted at a corner infield position, power is a big key when discussing Bichette's ability to move through the organization. Although he's hit just one home run this season, he's lived down the line and in the gaps. He's recorded nine doubles and three triples. Coach Gonzalez says the deep ball power will come with age and experience.

"He's still making adjustments, he's only 18-years-old," said Gonzalez. "He's still learning about the game. But he has a real good feel for what he's doing at the plate and that's the important thing. Whatever else, home runs or everything else, they're going to come with time."

As the GCL season is heading into it's final month, Bichette is nothing but grateful for the opportunity he's been given. He's made the best of it as he's put up middle of the lineup type numbers.

"Honestly, there couldn't have been a better organization to have it with," Bichette says in regards to his first pro season with the Yankees. "I love the coaches, I love the players.

"Everything has been perfect."

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