If you're an avid follower of the Major League Baseball Draft, chances are you didn't have Nick Yorke going at No. 17 overall.
That's where the Boston Red Sox selected the 18-year-old second baseman out of Archbishop Mitty (Calif.) in the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft on Wednesday night.
But Yorke was much further down many draft boards. Baseball America ranks Yorke No. 96 among its top 2020 prospects, while MLB Pipeline doesn't even have Yorke in its top 100.
We're going to be honest.— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) June 11, 2020
We didn't have a Nick Yorke graphic prepared tonight.
He was on our list of 10 sleepers to watch, and some scouts believe he's the best pure hitter in California. #RedSox
Sleeper list: https://t.co/1sxfeeYAgy
With the 17th overall pick of the 2020 #MLBDraft, the #RedSox select Archbishop Mitty HS 2B Nick Yorke, No. 139 on the Top 200 Draft Prospects list: https://t.co/Fcf6FIVeRp— MLB Draft (@MLBDraft) June 11, 2020
Watch live: https://t.co/cmm19LX2BQ pic.twitter.com/GYKEfDkrQB
So, what did the Red Sox see in Yorke? First, here's a quick bio:
Height/Weight: 6 feet, 195 pounds
Age: 18 (Born April 2, 2002)
High School: Archbishop Mitty (Calif.)
College commitment: University of Arizona
Here's video of Yorke at a Perfect Game showcase last summer:
Here's what Yorke brings to the table offensively and defensively.
Simply put, Boston drafted Yorke for his bat. He went 8-for-15 with a double, two home runs, six RBIs and nine runs scored in just five games as a senior and finished his high school career with a .457 batting average, per MLB.com's Ian Browne.
MLB.com describes Yorke as a "natural hitter with a pure swing" and an "advanced approach at the plate," an evaluation Red Sox amateur scouting director Paul Toboni echoed Wednesday night.
"The main point on Nick is he's just a really advanced hitter," Toboni said, via The Boston Globe's Alex Speier. "We see developing power with him, too."
Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom said the Red Sox "love this kid's bat," adding: "We think he has a chance to be a special bat who is going to play the infield."
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Yorke played shortstop in high school but projects as a second baseman going forward. Why? He had shoulder surgery that forced him into a designated hitter role during his junior year, and his arm strength still hasn't returned.
While Yorke has solid athleticism and instincts, his arm strength is somewhat of a red flag. He projects as more of an offensive-minded second baseman than a defensive stud.
Red Sox fans will like the major-league comparison Toboni provided for Yorke on Wednesday night.
"He’s got a little bit of (Kevin) Youkilis to him, maybe," Toboni said, via MLB.com. "He’s got that rugged advanced hit tool."
Like the former dirt-dog Red Sox third baseman, Yorke is a grinder who should play with a chip on his shoulder after being ranked so low on many draft boards.
"Personally I felt like I was a first-rounder," Yorke said Wednesday night, via MLB.com. "I know a lot of rankings and sites didn’t have me there. But personally I’m more of a blue collar, put-your-head-down, go-to-work kind of guy. I didn’t go out and do all the Perfect Game things guys get ranked on. Wherever I played ball I played my hardest and the Red Sox fortunately saw me at one of those times and the rest is what just happened."
Yorke is committed to Arizona, so we may not see him in the Red Sox' system for a while. When he arrives, he'll have plenty to prove as a draft pick many saw as a reach.