Nick Yorke

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2020 first round pick infielder Nick Yorke, aka "They drafted WHO in the first round?!?!"

Position: Second Baseman
Bats: Right • Throws: Right
6-0, 200lb (183cm, 90kg)
Born: April 2, 2002


The Athletic has a good profile of Yorke:
https://theathletic.com/2420940/2021/03/02/red-sox-nick-yorke-draft/
The Red Sox shocked the baseball world in June when they selected Yorke with the 17th overall pick. Though he had been recognized as one of the best California high school hitters in the draft, the industry consensus was that he’d land somewhere from the second to fourth rounds. Yorke had shoulder surgery after his sophomore year in 2019 and spent his junior year at designated hitter. He returned to the field for the start of his senior season at Archbishop Mitty. He played just five games, collecting eight hits, including two homers and a double, before the pandemic shut everything down.

To say that prospect-watchers were surprised would be an understatement.

The Athletic’s Keith Law didn’t have Yorke among his top 100 prospects, MLB.com had Yorke as its No. 137 prospect in the draft and Baseball America placed him at No. 99. When the Red Sox made their pick, some of MLB Network commentators broadcasting the draft live were speechless.

“He’s taken a lot of criticism and he hasn’t even had a chance to prove himself,” said Labandeira. “I felt like the draft day for him, a day that should have been really special, a couple guys on TV didn’t make it very special.”

Bloom was steadfastly confident in his evaluators.

“I think our scouting staff gets a lot of credit getting to know Nick really well and having a longstanding relationship with him, and so I think the missed spring didn’t affect our perception of him as much as it might have otherwise,” Bloom said the night they selected Yorke. “This staff has a tremendous track record with high school hitters and so does our player development staff and getting the most out of them. So when there was the type of conviction on his bat that we had in Nick’s, it was something we felt we needed to act on.”
The article highlights Yorke's work ethic, and notes he had a batting cage in his backyard growing up:
The Yorke family built a batting cage in their backyard when Yorke was in eighth grade, so Nick would join Zachary in the backyard for another round of hitting in the afternoon.
“You don’t hit the way he hits unless you have a cage in your backyard,” Labandeira said. “I’m surprised his bedroom isn’t in that cage.”
Yorke joined the Red Sox alternate site in Pawtucket last summer after some other prospects moved up:
Yorke impressed, holding his own in the intrasquad games against advanced Red Sox pitchers like Bryan Mata, who features a 98-mph fastball.

“It was completely different. I remember that first pitch he threw me, he threw for a ball, but I was like, ‘I didn’t know a ball could move like that.’” Yorke said at the time. “So, then I put on the batting gloves and just tried to compete, put a barrel on a ball and do the work.”

In his first six plate appearances, he went 3-for-4 with two walks, two doubles and a single.

Yorke played most of his high school career at shortstop, but the Red Sox have opted to transition him to second, in part as a result of the shoulder surgery two years ago. Over the six weeks in the instructional league, Yorke worked every day with Fox on the intricacies of the position: arm angles, footwork, glove positioning, getting the ball out quicker, and turning double plays from a different side. They are all things that seem like easy adjustments, but ingraining them so that it becomes muscle memory is key to excelling at the position.

“He really did a good job of catching the ball, his fundamentals were actually pretty good for a high school kid, so building off of that,” Fox said.
Yorke has apparently dropped 25 pounds since last year:
By early February, Yorke had dropped 25 pounds, becoming leaner but still maintaining his strength.

“I think the more impressive thing was the shape that he was in,” Fox said. “He really put in some good work in the offseason as far as physically, kind of leaned down in a strong way, and was moving so much better, so that was really refreshing.”

Yorke will likely get into a few more big-league games this spring and then remain in Fort Myers once the Red Sox head north and minor-league camp begins in April. He’ll most likely break camp with Single-A Salem.
Here's his first professional at-bat, the other day against the Twins.

"One of the best relievers in baseball last year vs. a kid out of HS that has never has a minor league at-bat:":
View: https://twitter.com/redsoxstats/status/1366479801691815939?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1366479801691815939%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Ftheathletic.com%2F2420940%2F2021%2F03%2F02%2Fred-sox-nick-yorke-draft%2F

Edit:
Here's his minor league stats page:
https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=yorke-000nic


2021 game log and splits:
https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=yorke-000nic&type=bgl&year=2021
 
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ColdSoxPack

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Jul 14, 2005
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Great story. Nothing not to like about this kid. And he got a hit in his first spring training at bat. Didn't see the game today so not sure if he played again.

P.S. He walked
 

joe dokes

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Jul 18, 2005
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I read stuff like that, and I wonder if, for kids like this, *not* playing games and instead just having what amounts to all-day coaching clinics, might actually be better for development. (or at least not worse).
 

DeadlySplitter

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Oct 20, 2015
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He has the makeup for sure. The big detraction is he's 18 and already ruled out of SS I think, all the upside is in the bat. Ceiling is Pedroia I'd think?
 

nighthob

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I think he was ruled off SS due to the shoulder injury and ensuing arm strength. Not the glove per se.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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He does seem small... and I get the worry in that it seems good/great 2B tend to start out as SS or 3B and end up at 2B rather than just starting there due to not being able to handle the other positions at younger ages.
Off the top of my head, I can't think of any 2B that came into and up through the minors as exclusive 2B.
That said.... everything I've read about this kid is pretty exciting. It also just hit me that the newest kids in the system are all born after 2000.
 

thehitcat

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Pedroia was a SS in his pre-Professional days as well and while he didn't end up with the arm to stay his arm translated as above average at 2nd so I hope for the best while we enjoy watching the kid grow up.
 

jon abbey

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Off the top of my head, I can't think of any 2B that came into and up through the minors as exclusive 2B.
Roberto Alomar and Ryne Sandberg were the two I looked up, both were basically exclusively 2B in the bigs, Alomar never really played anywhere else in the minors and Sandberg played a bit of SS.
 

sean1562

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Sep 17, 2011
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Downs is 23 in July while Yorke is 19 in a month. If Yorke is anywhere near the majors in the next three years then we can worry about the transition from Downs to Yorke. Who knows if Downs is ever a successful major leaguer?
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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David Laurila has a piece up on FanGraphs talking hitting with Nick Yorke.

Yorke went to the same high school as Mitch Haniger (years apart) and worked out with Haniger over the winter.

Here's one exchange from the article:
"Laurila: How would you describe your setup and your swing?
Yorke: “I’m very relaxed. I try not to think in the box. I’m a big believer in you’re working on what you need to work on in the cage, then once you get in the game it’s just go-time. Go have fun, clear your mind, and just be relaxed. When I’m in the box, I focus on my breathing. From there, I just try to zone in on the pitch I’m looking for. So I would say I’m relaxed, slow load, and then explosive. I try to be short, quick, and as powerful as possible.”

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/red-sox-2020-first-rounder-nick-yorke-talks-hitting/
 

burstnbloom

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Jul 12, 2005
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I suspect he'd have been placed at Lowell this year, unfortunately there's no more short-season Low-A league anymore due to minor league contraction.
almost certainly. He would have been in the gcl last year after signing if there wasn’t a pandemic. Low A is an aggressive assignment and we should expect an adjustment period.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Dec 22, 2002
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Last 19 games: .368/.463/.544, .421 BAbip. 7 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR. 11bb/11k. 82 PA

Now up to .265/.353/.354 on a .328 BAbip in 170 PA, 19bb/32k.

The 11bb/11k in his last 82 PA is good to see. Hitting for a bit more power too.
 

burstnbloom

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Jul 12, 2005
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He's sitting at 297/382/413 at 19 in Low A which is crazy given that his first 82 at bats yielded a .195/264/220 line. His splits are bananas

May - 82 at bats - .195/.264/.220 8 walks, 21K
June - 69 at bats - .348/.446/.507 11 walks, 11k
July - 21 at bats - .524/.600/.857 4 walks, 3 k

we might have something here. I tried to find the tweet but as of last week he had yet to face a pitcher his age or younger. He's obviously on a long term heater here but it will be interesting to see how this levels off. He might be ready for Greenville by the end of the year, as a 19 year old. Maybe Chaim does know what he's doing.
 

bluefenderstrat

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He's sitting at 297/382/413 at 19 in Low A which is crazy given that his first 82 at bats yielded a .195/264/220 line. His splits are bananas

May - 82 at bats - .195/.264/.220 8 walks, 21K
June - 69 at bats - .348/.446/.507 11 walks, 11k
July - 21 at bats - .524/.600/.857 4 walks, 3 k

we might have something here. I tried to find the tweet but as of last week he had yet to face a pitcher his age or younger. He's obviously on a long term heater here but it will be interesting to see how this levels off. He might be ready for Greenville by the end of the year, as a 19 year old. Maybe Chaim does know what he's doing.
It will be ironic if Nick Yorke makes us forget Blaze Jordan 3 years from now.
 

billy ashley

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Despite Jordan's loud power skill and celebrity from hitting moonshots as a 13-year-old, almost every publication had Yorke ahead of Jordan after the draft.

Blaze Jordan is a nice prospect. Yorke is clearly the better protect, though. They both profile as bat-first players, so there is a lot of risk for both of them.
 

burstnbloom

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Jul 12, 2005
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It will be ironic if Nick Yorke makes us forget Blaze Jordan 3 years from now.
I'm a Blaze fan but he's helpful for context on Yorke. Sox Prospects have said that he had a good showing at XST and he's just started with the FCL Red Sox and has 14 at bats. He's only 8 months younger than Yorke and is just starting to get his feet wet in complex ball when Yorke played in spring training games with the Sox and is raking in low A. It's a very encouraging performance at an aggressive assignment.
 

Dduncan6er

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Apr 16, 2020
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If anything those April struggles should serve him well as his career goes on. Probably the first time in his life he's faced major adversity at the plate and he clearly made some adjustments and is raking once again.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Dec 22, 2002
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Last 26 games: 116 PA/97 AB, .392/.483/.588, .438 BAbip. 13 xbh/3 HR. 16bb/15k.
Last 11 games: 55 PA/47 AB, .426/.509/.681, .472 BAbip. 6 xbh/3HR. 8bb/8k.

Season Vs R: .329/.422/.464 in 164 PA. 12 xbh/3HR. 22bb/26k.
Season vs L: .167/.211/.194 in 38 PA. 1 xbh. 2bb/10k.

I don't know what to think of that split.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Hasn't played for the last week due to back soreness. I'm guessing it's minor and the Sox are just being overly cautious like they usually are.