Yairo Munoz is not the only minor-leaguer in the Red Sox organization putting together an impressive hitting streak at the moment.
While Munoz has now recorded at least one hit in a record-setting 30 straight games with a 1-for-4 showing for Triple-A Worcester on Sunday, top Red Sox prospect Nick Yorke extended his hitting streak to 18 consecutive games for Low-A Salem.
Starting at second base and batting leadoff for the Salem Red Sox as he typically does in Sunday’s series finale against the Lynchburg Hillcats at Haley Toyota Field, Yorke took the pressure off himself right away by ripping a leadoff single off right-hander Josh Wolf to begin things in the first inning.
After being stranded at first in the first, Yorke came up to the plate again with one out in the bottom of the third inning and things knotted at one run apiece.
Matched up against newly-inserted reliever Randy Labaut, Yorke — moments after his manager Luke Montz had been ejected from the game — drilled a solo home run to left-center field on the fourth pitch he saw to put his side up 2-1.
Fast forward all the way to the eighth, after the Hillcats and Red Sox had exchanged blows and were deadlocked in a 4-4 stalemate, Yorke delivered in the clutch big time, and he did so while leading off the inning.
On the seventh and final pitch he saw from righty Jacob Forrester, the right-handed hitter tattooed a towering, go-ahead homer over everything in left field to give Salem the lead again at 5-4.
Yorke’s sixth big fly of the season proved to be the game-winner for Salem, as they held on to take Sunday’s series finale over Lynchburg by that narrow one-run margin.
In completing the first multi-homer game of his young career, Yorke finished the day having gone 3-for-3 at the plate with those two home runs, two RBI, two runs scored, one walk, and one stolen base while lengthening his eye-catching hitting streak to a modest 18 games.
Dating back to July 15, when his streak began, the 19-year-old has posted a gaudy .366/.459/.592 (180 wRC+) slash line to go along with three doubles, two triples, three home runs, 13 RBI, 15 runs scored, nine walks, six strikeouts, and two stolen bases over his last 18 games and 85 trips to the plate.
On the 2021 campaign — his first full professional season — as a whole, the 2020 first-round pick has batted .312/.405/.456 (138 wRC+) in addition to hitting 12 doubles, three triples, and six home runs while collecting 34 RBI, scoring 44 runs, walking 34 times, striking out 43 times, and swiping 11 bags over 65 total games (294 plate appearances) with Salem.
Among the top hitters in the Low-A East to date, Yorke ranks seventh in hits (78), 22nd in runs scored, 28th in RBI, second in batting average, fifth in on-base percentage, 14th in slugging percentage, ninth in OPS (.861), seventh in weighted on-base average (.398), and seventh in wRC+, per FanGraphs.
For Yorke, the recent run of success he has enjoyed over the last three weeks or so comes after his inaugural season as a pro got off to a rough start.
After receiving in invite to major-league spring training and breaking minor-league camp with the Salem Sox, the California native hit a measly .195/.264/.220 in the month of May.
Since the calendar flipped to June, however, Yorke flipped the switch offensively and has batted a whopping .369/.471/.571 dating back to June 1.
Yorke, who does not turn 20 until next April, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 8 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking fifth among position players in the organization.
Given how well the 6-foot, 200 pound infielder has performed with Salem as of late, one has to wonder how much longer it will be until the Red Sox feel as though Yorke is ready for a promotion to High-A Greenville.
That being said, Cameron Cannon, who has been regularly patrolling second base for the Drive this season, was promoted to Double-A Portland on Monday morning, so that seemingly opens up a spot for Yorke to take over at second base with Greenville. We will have to wait and see on that.
(Picture of Nick Yorke: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)