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Nick Yorke Holds His Own Against Advanced Competition



Nick Yorke’s selection by the Red Sox with the 17th pick in the 2020 draft out of Archbishop Mitty High in San Jose shocked the industry, with most teams pegging the high school infielder as a second- to fourth-round selection.

Yet in Yorke, the Red Sox—who lost their second-round pick as a result of Major League Baseball's investigation into the use of replay to decipher sign sequences in 2018—saw an advanced high school hitter whom they feared wouldn’t remain on the board until their next pick in the third round.

Had there been a full 2020 high school season, Boston believes that Yorke—whose participation in the summer 2019 showcase circuit had been limited by his recovery from right shoulder surgery—would have emerged as a consensus top pick.

Time and performance will tell, but the 6-foot, 200-pound Yorke, a high school shortstop who has been moved to second base, has made strong initial impressions. He was invited to the alternate training site for the final days of the 2020 season, and there, he held his own against pitchers with mid-to-high-90s velocity and upper-levels experience.

Invited to 2021 big league spring training as an 18-year-old, Yorke likewise didn’t look overwhelmed, fighting off a two-strike slider from Braves reliever A.J. Minter for an opposite-field hit.

Yorke’s natural ability to recognize and react to pitches that are grades better than anything he’d previously seen in high school while also maintaining control of the strike zone shows his intuitive hitting ability.

“That’s a neurological piece that’s really difficult to develop,” Red Sox scouting director Paul Toboni said. “I think that’s largely how you’re wired.”

Yorke has also proven eager to improve himself. At the end of instructional league, the Red Sox challenged him to lose 10 to 15 pounds in the offseason. Yorke said he lost 25 through a combination of dedicated nutrition and training, something that will improve his chances to stay at second as he prepares for a likely assignment to Low-A Salem.

SOX YARNS

— Top Red Sox pitching prospect Bryan Mata was diagnosed with a minor tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow in early March. He’ll attempt a non-surgical rehab.

— Righthanded-hitting corner infielder Bobby Dalbec opened spring training by hitting three homers in the first four games, all to right-center field.

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Nick Yorke: Red Sox 2021 Minor League Player Of The Year

The reason the Red Sox valued Yorke so highly in the 2020 draft became apparent in 2021 as he turned in an elite hitting performance.

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