By Jerry Del Priore
After seven seasons in the New York Yankees minor league system, in which he had a brief stay in Staten Island, the St. Paul Saints of the independent American Association inked Dante Bichette Jr. to a contract for 2018, the team announced Monday.
The 25-year-old Bichette Jr. spent all of last season at Double-A Trenton, where he hit .262 with four home runs and 33 RBI in 72 games.
The Yankees selected Bichette in the first round, compensatory pick (51st overall), in 2011 MLB amateur draft out of Orangewood Christian High School in Florida.
The six-foot-one, 210-pounder slugged .342 with three home runs and 47 RBI in 52 games with the Gulf Coast Yankees in ’11. He played two games with the short-season Staten island Yankees, going yard once while driving in a run in seven at-bats that same campaign.
Bichette Jr., son 14-year major league veteran Dante Bichette, spent the entire 2012 year with the Single-A Charleston RiverDogs, where he hit .248 with three home runs and 46 RBI in 54 games. In 203 at bats, he scored a career-high 67 runs, slugged 24 doubles, three triples, and had .322 on base and .331 slugging percentages.
For his five-year minor league career, Bichette Jr. smacked 44 homers, 352 RBI, and 132 doubles with a .249 average.
During his junior and senior seasons at Orangewood Christian High School, the Orlando Sentinel named Bichette Jr. as the All-Central Florida Baseball Player of the Year. Following his junior season, Under Armour selected him as an All-American player.