The Red Sox have promoted top infield prospect Nick Yorke from Low-A Salem to High-A Greenville, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.
Yorke, who the Sox selected in the first round and with the 17th overall pick in last year’s amateur draft, opened his first full professional season with Salem earlier this spring and got off to a rather slow start.
Through the end of May, the 19-year-old was hitting just .195/.264/.220 (41 wRC+) with two doubles, no home runs, nine RBI, nine runs scored, three stolen bases, eight walks, and 21 strikeouts over his first 21 games and 91 plate appearances of the year.
Once the calendar flipped to June, however, Yorke began to turn a corner offensively, as the young second baseman slashed a sizzling .373/.467/.608 (185 wRC+) to go along with 12 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs, 38 RBI, 50 runs scored, eight stolen bases, 33 walks, and 26 strikeouts over his final 55 games (255 plate appearances) with the Salem Red Sox.
In the month of August alone, Yorke posted an absurd 1.352 OPS, bringing his totals on the season up to .323/.413/.500 (147 wRC+) in addition to 14 doubles, four triples, 10 homers, 47 RBI, 59 runs scored, 11 stolen bases, 41 walks, and 47 strikeouts in 76 games (346 plate appearances) at Salem.
Among the top qualified hitters in the Low-A East this season, Yorke ranks in first in batting average, fourth in on-base percentage, second in slugging percentage, second in OPS (.913), third in weighted on-base average (.416), and third in wRC+, per FanGraphs.
The left-handed hitter did all that while drawing a walk 11.8% of the time while also striking out a mere 13.6% of the time.
Yorke, who is listed at 6-foot and 200 pounds, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 8 prospect in Boston’s farm system.
When the Red Sox selected Yorke, then an 18-year-old fresh out of Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, as early as they did in the 2020 draft, that decision was met with much criticism since he was not regarded by those in the industry as one of the top-20 talents in that year’s draft class.
Still, the Sox took Yorke with the feeling that he would not be on the board when they picked again, and that selection has certainly paid off to this point — especially since they were able to sign the California native to an underslot deal at $2.7 million.
Now that he has been promoted, Yorke will get the opportunity to go up against a more advanced level of pitching as a member of the Greenville Drive.
Defensively, Speier notes that “questions remain about whether [Yorke] will be able to stay at second base, but his performance with Salem suggested that he needs to be challenged at a higher level.”
With that being said, it should be interesting to see (a) how Yorke — who does not turn 20 until next April — responds to this new challenge and (b) what kind of start he gets off to in Greenville.
(Picture of Nick Yorke: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)