The Red Sox have signed first-round draft pick Nick Yorke.
The unorthodox approach that the Boston Red Sox took in the 2020 amateur draft is working out as planned now that they have first-round pick Nick Yorke signed to a below slot value deal.
MLB.com’s Jim Callis reports that the Red Sox have signed Yorke with a $2.7 million bonus, well below the $3,609,700 value projected for the No. 17 overall pick.
The Red Sox made a shocking decision to select Yorke, who was ranked by MLB.com as the 139th-best prospect in this draft class. The 18-year-old from Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose wasn’t expected to go in the first round but the Red Sox view him as one of the top high school bats in this class and they were concerned he wouldn’t still be on the board when their next pick rolled around.
Boston was stripped of their second-round pick as punishment stemming from the sign-stealing investigation. If they didn’t take Yorke at No. 17, they wouldn’t get another opportunity until No. 89 overall in the third round. Would the offensive-minded second baseman still be available by then? The Red Sox weren’t going to take that chance.
There was another factor motivating the decision to reach for Yorke in the first round, one that naturally boils down to money. Yorke ended up getting a bonus far higher than what would be expected from a player who wasn’t even a lock to get drafted but it’s well short of what the No. 17 overall pick was projected to make.
Teams have a strict cap on the amount they can spend on signing bonuses for draft picks. The $909,700 in savings by signing Yorke for under slot allows the Red Sox to spend that money on other draft selections.
That’s exactly what the Red Sox did by giving third-round pick Blaze Jordan a $1.75 million bonus, well above the $667,900 bonus recommended for the 89th pick. Boston swung for the fences with a high-upside pick in the third round. Jordan has enticing raw power and the potential to develop into an elite all-around hitter. He could end up being the steal of the draft but he’s also among the youngest players in this class and was committed to Mississippi State, which explains how he fell to round three.
Jordan was too risky to take in the first round but it was going to take a lot more than the recommended bonus for later rounds to convince him to skip college. Most teams couldn’t afford to overpay a talent who fell in the draft further than his potential suggests but the Red Sox put themselves in position to do so by using their first-round pick on a player they knew they could sign for under slot.
The difference between what they saved with Yorke and the amount they had to overpay to sign Jordan is $172,400. That gives them slightly less than the recommended slot values available to sign their fourth- and fifth-round picks, left-handed pitchers Jeremy Wu-Yelland and Shane Drohan. One of them will have to settle for slightly under slot with the Red Sox having only $679,900 remaining in their budget but both college pitchers are expected to sign.
The plan to spend less on their first round pick so that they could afford to overpay another high school bat who fell too far has come to fruition. If these two players reach their offensive potentials, this draft will be a smashing success for the Red Sox.