In a surprising turn of events, the Red Sox have selected prep infielder Nick Yorke with their top pick in the 2020 MLB first-year player draft at No. 17 overall.
Ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 139 draft-eligible prospect in this year’s class, Yorke is committed to play college baseball at the University of Arizona.
An 18-year-old out of Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Calif., Yorke is listed at 6’0″ and 200 lbs. His Baseball America scouting report from May goes as follows:
Yorke dealt with a shoulder injury prior to his junior year and is still recovering from that, which leads some scouts to believe he’ll be a better fit as an offensive second baseman. Still, other scouts have said his arm has looked good, with a better arm stroke recently and above-average arm strength.
Per his MaxPreps page, Yorke, who hits from the right side of the plate, slashed .457/.552/.709 with 11 home runs, 35 doubles, and 77 RBI over 94 games played spanning four seasons at Mitty High.
Regarded by one Red Sox evaluator as a potentially “special offensive player,” the club does expect to sign Yorke, according to the same evaluator.
Earlier Wednesday, it was thrown out there that the Red Sox, led by chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and amateur scouting director Paul Toboni, could target an underslot prospect with the club’s top pick in order to allocate more money later in the draft. That being the case because Boston was stripped of their second-round pick in April as part of their punishment for stealing signs in 2018.
The assigned slot value for the 17th overall pick in this year’s draft is approximately $3,609,700, and the Red Sox have $5,129,900 to work with in total pool space.
The first draft pick of the Chaim Bloom Era, Yorke represents Boston’s lone Day 1 pick. When the draft picks up again on Thursday evening, the Sox will be on the clock with the 89th, 118th, and 148th overall selections.
While Yorke weighs between going pro or honoring his commitment to the Arizona Wildcats, the Red Sox will have until August 1st to sign him.
UPDATE: According to Baseball America’s Kyle Glaser, “the Red Sox apparently have an underslot deal done with [Yorke] that will save them ‘quite a bit of money’ according to one source.”
In other words, that would allow them to spend more on their Day 2 picks.