Red Sox prospect Nick Yorke remains hot in Single-A Salem
Nick Yorke is becoming one of the hottest Boston Red Sox prospects
One year ago, I highlighted Nick Yorke, the 19-year-old second baseman drafted by the Boston Red Sox with the 17th pick in the 2020 MLB draft. Since then, not only have the Red Sox exceeded their 2021 expectations (albeit maybe not as of late), but so has Yorke, becoming one of Boston’s most exciting prospects.
Yorke finished July with a slash line of .358/.448/.519 while driving in 11 RBI. This month, Yorke’s been the hottest batter on the Salem Red Sox (Low-A) lineup. In his last 10 games, he batted .462/.563/.897 with four home runs and 12 RBI. He also earned a spot on MLB Pipeline’s Prospect Team of the Week for the first week of August.
He garnered national attention from outlets such as Baseball America after his 3-for-3 performance with two home runs last Sunday. Yorke extended his hitting streak to 20 games after hitting his seventh home run of the season last night.
Yorke’s 2021 campaign began in Spring Training, where he batted .231/.375/.308 in 16 plate appearances. His first month in Salem was rough, finishing May with a batting average just under .200 along with 21 strikeouts in 91 plate appearances. Since then, Boston’s 8th best prospect has brought his average up to .318 and has hit 13 doubles, three triples, and seven home runs.
The second baseman has also improved his discipline at the plate. His strikeout rate of 14.5% is the lowest on the team and he has reached base 36 times via walks. As someone who lives close to Salem and has had the opportunity to watch Yorke play at the ballpark, let me just say that this kid looks confident during every at bat and is equipped with a powerful swing capable of electrifying any offense.
At this pace, Yorke’s offensive performance will likely result in a promotion up to the High-A Greenville Drive before the season concludes. A spot at second base is now open with the promotion of Cameron Cannon, who also has had a great season so far with a slash line of .302/.351/.457 along with 24 doubles, up to Double-A Portland.
Drafting Yorke early in the first round of last year’s draft came as a surprise to many. He was ranked No. 139 in MLB Pipeline’s top 200 draft prospects, partially due to a shoulder surgery he underwent in 2019 that ended his time playing shortstop. The California native finished his high school career with a .457 batting average and had 77 RBIs in 94 games. According to the experts at MLB Pipeline, Yorke has the skill set to be an elite power hitter.
"“Yorke has a pretty right-handed swing and advanced plate discipline and pitch recognition. He hits the ball to all fields with authority and while most of his over-the-fence power presently comes to his pull side, he’s adding strength and could develop into a .300 hitter who produces 20 homers annually.”"
Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom had nothing but positive remarks to say on his first ever draft selection with Boston.
"“We love this kid’s bat,” said Bloom. “We think he has a chance to be a special bat who is going to play the infield. We feel that if the spring had gotten to play out the way it would have in a normal year the public perception of him would have been a lot different.”"
In an interview with MLB.com reporter Ian Browne following the 2020 draft, the 19-year-old expressed his enthusiasm towards one day playing at Fenway Park.
"“I was there during a Cooperstown 12U trip,” said Yorke. “We took a trip to Boston and we caught a game. I think my swing fits perfectly there. A lot of my power goes to right-center, so I think I can hit a lot of triples just because of that alleyway in the right-center-field gap.”"
At this pace, we may be seeing some of those triples up at Fenway sooner than later.