Two of the top prospects in the Red Sox farm system were recognized for the seasons they respectively put together this year.
Infielder Nick Yorke was named Boston’s Offensive Player of the Year, while right-hander Brayan Bello was named Boston’s Starting Pitcher of the Year, the club announced on Tuesday.
Yorke, 19, enjoyed a great deal of success in his first professional season with the Sox after being selected with the 17th overall pick in last summer’s amateur draft.
The right-handed hitting second baseman received an invite to major-league spring training earlier this year and broke minor-league camp with Low-A Salem.
After getting off to a slow start with Salem, Yorke turned a corner at the plate beginning in June, as he was slashing a scorching .323/.413/.500 (146 wRC+) with 14 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs, 47 RBI, 59 runs scored, 11 stolen bases, 41 walks, and 47 strikeouts over 76 games (346 plate appearances) before earning a promotion to High-A Greenville late last month.
Upon getting promoted to a more advanced level on the minor-league ladder, Yorke did not slow down, as evidenced by him collecting two hits in his Greenville debut on August 24.
From there, the California native went on to hit .333/.406/.571 (158 wRC+) with six doubles, one triple, four homers, 15 RBI, 17 runs scored, two stolen bases, 11 walks, and 22 strikeouts across 21 games (96 plate appearances) with the Drive, whose season ended on Sunday.
All in all, Yorke this season ranked first among all qualified Red Sox minor-league hitters in batting average (.325), fourth in on-base percentage (.412), third in slugging percentage (.516), first in OPS (.928), second in wRC+ (158), per FanGraphs.
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.
As for Bello, the 22-year-old right-hander also earned a midseason promotion over the summer after originally beginning the year — and dominating — with Greenville.
Across six starts with the Drive, Bello posted a dazzling 2.27 ERA and 2.82 FIP to go along with 45 strikeouts to seven walks over 31 2/3 innings of work before moving up to Double-A Portland in early June.
While the transition from High-A to Double-A did not go entirely smoothly for Bello, he was one of two prospects to represent the Red Sox in July’s All-Star Futures Game at Coors Field.
From the time he was promoted to Portland through the end of the minor-league season, the Dominican-born righty put up a 4.66 ERA, but much more respectable 3.12 FIP, while striking out 31.1% of the batters he faced and walking just 8.6% of them over 15 starts spanning 63 2/3 innings of work with the Sea Dogs.
Among the eight Red Sox minor-league pitchers who accrued at least 90 innings this season, Bello ranked first in strikeouts per nine innings (12.46), first in strikeout rate (32.8%), first in FIP (3.02), and first in xFIP (3.16), per FanGraphs.
Bello, who is listed at 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, is the No. 6 prospect in Boston’s farm system, according to Baseball America.
Per his SoxProspects.com scouting report, Bello throws from a mid-three-quarters arm slot and operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a fastball, a changeup, and a slider.
Despite the fact he does not turn 23 until next May, Bello will more than likely be added to the Sox’ 40-man roster by the November 20 deadline since he can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time this winter.
In addition to Yorke being named the Red Sox’ Offensive Player of the Year and Bello being named the Starting Pitcher of the Year, infielder/outfielder Ceddanne Rafaela was named the Defensive Player of the Year, right-hander Durbin Feltman was named the Relief Pitcher of the Year, infielder Christian Koss was named the Baserunner of the Year, outfielder Allan Castro was named the Latin Program Position Player of the Year, and right-hander Jedixson Paez was named the Latin Program Pitcher of the Year.
On top of that, right-hander Kutter Crawford — who made his major-league debut earlier this month — was named the recipient of the Lou Gorman Award, which goes to a player “who has demonstrated dedication and perseverance in overcoming obstacles while working his way to the major-league team.”
(Picture of Nick Yorke: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)