The Red Sox have activated top prospect Nick Yorke from High-A Greenville’s 7-day injured list. In a corresponding move, fellow infielder Ricardo Cubillan was transferred to Greenville’s development list, per the team’s minor-league transactions log.
In 34 games with Greenville this season, the right-handed hitting second baseman is batting .245/.319/.361 (88 wRC+) with five doubles, four home runs, 18 RBIs, 25 runs scored, five stolen bases, 16 walks, and 32 strikeouts over 163 plate appearances.
Boston originally selected Yorke with the 17th overall pick in the 2020 amateur draft out of Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Calif. In his first full professional season, he took home Red Sox Minor League Offensive Player of the Year honors last September.
Now, the talented 20-year-old is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 3 prospect in the Sox’ farm system and the No. 32 prospect in all of baseball.
(Picture of Nick Yorke: Gwinn Davis/Greenville Drive)
The 17th overall pick in the 2020 draft out of Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Calif, Yorke is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 3 prospect in Boston’s farm system and the No. 33 prospect in all of baseball.
After breaking out in 2021 by being named the Sox’ Minor League Offensive Player of the Year, Yorke has not been his usual self at the plate this season. Prior to getting hurt, the right-handed hitter was batting .245/.319/.361 (87 wRC+) with five doubles, four home runs, 18 RBIs, 25 runs scored, five stolen bases, 16 walks, and 32 strikeouts over 34 games (163 plate appearances) with the Drive.
Defensively, Yorke has unsurprisingly seen all his playing time on the field come at second base. The 6-foot, 200 pounder has logged 263 innings at his primary position and has yet to commit an error there.
(Picture of Nick Yorke: Gwinn Davis/Greenville Drive)
Listed at 6-feet and 180 pounds, Young is in the midst of his senior season with North Allegheny, which only just began on Wednesday. Last year, the left-handed hitting infielder batted .437/.594/.859 with four doubles, four triples, six home runs, 23 RBIs, 33 runs scored, 19 stolen bases, 25 walks, and five strikeouts over 27 games (101 plate appearances) for the Tigers.
Per his Baseball America scouting report, Young “separated himself over the summer as the best shortstop in the 2022 prep class and perhaps the best pure hitter not named Termarr Johnson. … Young does most things on the field well, headlined by a sound offensive approach and a clean, flat bat path that he uses to spray the ball all over the field. He handles 90-plus mph velocity well and he has a solid understanding of the strike zone, tracking the ball well and keeping his barrel in the hitting zone for a long time.”
Defensively, Young “has a chance to stick at shortstop, where he’s a capable and fluid defender, if not an explosive one. He plays low to the ground, has a solid first step—and above-average speed underway—with above-average arm strength and good instincts.”
As for why he has the Red Sox taking Young off the board with the 24th overall selection, Baseball America’s Carlos Collazo writes that Young “would represent solid value” for Boston since he is a pure hitter who possesses sound tools all the way around.
Since he plays the infield and hits from the left side of the plate, Young — who turns 19 in July — has drawn comparisons to former Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew and current Mariners second baseman Adam Frazier.
The Red Sox, in recent years, have not shied away from taking high school infielders early in the draft. Since Chaim Bloom took over as chief baseball officer in October 2019, Boston has selected Marcelo Mayer (2021, fourth overall) and Nick Yorke (2020, 17th overall) with their last two first-round picks.
(Picture of Cole Young: Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
The Red Sox fell to 6-2 in Grapefruit League on Thursday night following an 8-5 loss to the Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. Their six-game winning streak has been met with a two-game losing streak.
Enrique Hernandez was one of the few regulars who made the trek to Sarasota for Thursday’s contest, and he made his impact felt right away by crushing a leadoff home run off Orioles starter Bruce Zimmermann to begin things in the first inning.
Hernandez’s first homer of the spring provided Sox starter Nick Pivetta with an early 1-0 lead. A red-hot Ryan Fitzgerald added on to that by clubbing a two-run shot off Zimmermann an inning later.
Fitzgerald’s team-leading fourth big fly of the spring gave Pivetta an even bigger lead to work with, but the right-hander ran into some trouble in the bottom of the second.
After retiring the side in order in the first, Pivetta — to no fault of his own — allowed the first batter he faced in the second in Anthony Santander to reach base via a throwing error committed by Fitzgerald. Pivetta then issued a one-out walk to Ramon Urias before surrendering two runs on a pair of RBI knocks off the bats of Jorge Mateo and Kelvin Gutierrez.
An inning later, Baltimore knotted things back up at three runs apiece when Ryan Mountcastle took Pivetta deep to right-center field for a solo homer. Urias did the very same in the fourth to give the O’s their first lead of the evening at 4-3.
Pivetta, in turn, recorded the first two outs of the fourth before making way for fellow righty Joan Martinez. The 29-year-old finished his day having given up four runs (two earned) on four hits, two walks, and six strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings of work.
In relief of Pivetta, Martinez came on and got the final out of the fourth. Moments later, Alex Binelas (one of two prospects acquired in the Jackie Bradley Jr. trade) led off the top of the fifth with a ground-ball single and was pinch ran for by the speedy Ceddanne Rafaela, who proceeded to steal second base and score on an RBI single from Kevin Plawecki.
That sequence allowed the Red Sox to tie things back up at 4-4, and it also prompted manager Alex Cora to have Jake Diekman make his spring debut out of the bullpen in the fifth inning.
Diekman, however, was not at his sharpest. The veteran lefty yielded a one-out single and walk before serving up a three-run blast to New Hampshire native Ryan McKenna that made it a 7-4 game in favor of Baltimore.
Fellow newcomer Matt Strahm was deployed for the sixth inning. The southpaw plunked one batter and walked another, but got through the frame unscathed.
From there, Hirokazu Sawamura tossed a scoreless seventh inning. Power-hitting infield prospect Nick Northcut then mashed a booming home run to dead center field off old friend Travis Lakins with two outs and the bases empty in the eighth.
The Orioles got that run back off Kutter Crawford in their half of the eighth, though, and Marcos Diplan closed things out by retiring the likes of Nick Yorke, Rafaela, and Marcelo Mayer in order in the ninth.
Some notes from this loss:
Mayer, arguably Boston’s top prospect, came off the bench as a defensive replacement in the sixth inning and went 0-for-1 with a walk and strikeout.
Yorke, on the other hand, went 0-for-2 with a punchout after pinch-hitting for Fitzgerald in the sixth inning as well.
Next up: Houck vs. Anderson
The Red Sox will travel to North Port to take on the Braves at CoolToday Park on Friday afternoon. Tanner Houck is slated to get the ball for Boston and fellow right-hander Ian Anderson is lined up to the same for Atlanta.
First pitch Friday is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time. The game will be televised, but only on Bally Sports South.
(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
To nobody’s surprise, this group is headlined by the infield trio of Marcelo Mayer, Triston Casas, and Nick Yorke. This is certainly interesting when you consider the fact that Mayer (2021), Yorke (2020), and Casas (2018) were the last three players the Red Sox selected in the first round of the amateur draft.
Mayer is regarded by Baseball America and MLB Pipeline as Boston’s top overall prospect, while FanGraphs and SoxProspects have him at No. 2. Casas, on the other hand, is ranked No. 1 by FanGraphs and SoxProspects but No. 2 by Baseball America and MLB Pipeline. Yorke is ranked No. 3 by all four.
This is how the order was determined. For instance, the average of Casas’ four rankings and Mayer’s four rankings comes out to 1.5 [(1+1+2+2)/4)]. The tiebreaker went to Mayer since he is younger then Casas. From there, Yorke and 30 additional Red Sox prospects were ranked, with left-hander Jeremy Wu-Yelland rounding things out at No. 33.
With that, here is the full list of 33 beginning with Mayer and ending with Wu-Yelland. Let’s get to it.
Baseball America organizational rank: 31 FanGraphs organizational rank: 41 MLB Pipeline organizational rank: Not Ranked SoxProspects organizational rank: 35
Other prospects who missed the cut but are still worth monitoring this season include pitchers Eduard Bazardo, Durbin Feltman, Luis Perales, and Jacob Wallace as well as position players like Cameron Cannon, Tyler Dearden, Ryan Fitzgerald, Niko Kavadas, Enderso Lira, and Stephen Scott, among others.
(Picture of Marcelo Mayer and Chaim Bloom: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
The Red Sox surprised many when they selected Yorke with the 17th overall pick in the 2020 amateur draft, but the Archbishop Mitty High school product has quickly proven his doubters wrong.
2021 marked Yorke’s first full season as a professional. After impressing the likes of Alex Cora at spring training, the 19-year-old broke camp with Low-A Salem and initially got off to a slow start.
By the time the calendar flipped from May to June, Yorke was sporting a measly .195 batting average through his first 21 games and 91 plate appearances with Salem.
From June 1 on, however, Yorke turned things around for the better. The right-handed hitting second baseman proceeded to slash .373/.467/.609 with 12 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs, 38 RBIs, 50 runs scored, eight stolen bases, 33 walks, and 26 strikeouts over his next 55 games (255 plate appearances) before earning a promotion to High-A Greenville on August 24.
In the process of closing out his first full pro season with the Drive, Yorke stayed hot by batting .333/.406/.571 with six more doubles, one more triple, four more homers, 15 more RBIs, 17 more runs, two more stolen bases, 11 more walks, and 22 more strikeouts across 21 games spanning 96 trips to the plate.
On the heels of such a sensational campaign, Yorke was named the Red Sox’ minor-league Offensive Player of the Year in September. He was also recognized by Baseball America’s Kyle Glaser as the top-hitting second base prospect the game has to offer at the moment.
“He is a balanced hitter who stays back on balls and drives them to all fields with a quick, compact swing,” Glaser wrote on Friday. “He consistently puts together good at-bats with his excellent pitch recognition and strike-zone discipline, and his elite barrel control allows him to hit almost any pitch. He easily projects to be a plus hitter and has a chance to be more.”
Among all qualified minor-league second basemen who played above the rookie-level Dominican Summer League and complex leagues last year, Yorke ranked fifth in batting average (.325), fourth in on-base percentage (.412), ninth in slugging percentage (.516), fifth in OPS (.928), and fifth in wRC+ (149), per FanGraphs.
Defensively, Yorke saw all his playing time between Salem and Greenville come at second base. The 6-foot, 200 pounder logged 741 2/3 innings total innings at the position while recording nine errors — all of which came at Low-A.
There are some questions surrounding Yorke’s future as a second baseman, but he presently leads a prospect group that includes Nick Gonzales, Vidal Brujan, Ezequiel Duran, Justin Foscue, and Xavier Edwards, among others.
Yorke, who turns 20 in April, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 3 prospect in Boston’s farm system and the No. 31 prospect in all of baseball. The California native participated in the Sox’ Winter Warm-Up program last month and is projected to return to Greenville for the start of the 2022 minor-league season.
(Picture of Nick Yorke: Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
At this time last year, the Sox had Baseball America’s 21st-ranked farm system going into the 2021 campaign. They then jumped all the way up to ninth in BA’s midseason rankings.
Now, Boston’s farm system falls just outside of Baseball America’s top 10. Ahead of the Red Sox are the Mariners, Rays, Pirates, Orioles, Royals, Tigers, Reds, Dodgers, Rangers, and Diamondbacks, and just behind them are the Guardians, Yankees, Twins, and Cubs to make up the top 15.
Casas and Yorke were among the 28 Red Sox minor-leaguers who took part in the team’s Winter Warmup program in Fort Myers, Fla. last week. Bello and Duran were unable to participate since they are on the club’s 40-man roster.
In their brief assessment of the Red Sox’ minor-league pipeline, Baseball America notes that “Boston’s system isn’t the deepest, but its opening trio of shortstop Marcelo Mayer, first baseman Triston Casas and second baseman Nick Yorke is one of the most enticing. Right-hander Brayan Bello took steps forward in 2021, including an appearance in Denver at the Futures Game.”
By placing two prospects in BA’s top 20 and three in their top 35, the Sox have shown that they are serious about improving their farm system as well as their minor-league depth as a whole. Chaim Bloom has made that very clear since he took over as the club’s chief baseball officer in October 2019.
Under Bloom, the Red Sox have tapped into just about every market to bolster the organization from the ground up. Whether it be through the draft, the Rule 5 Draft, international scouting, pro scouting, or the trade market, Bloom has thus far made good on his promise to revamp Boston’s farm system while still maintaining a competitive team at the major-league level.
(Picture of Triston Casas: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox)
The Red Sox minor-leaguer who led the organization in batting average last year was Nick Yorke, who hit a whopping .325 on the season between Low-A Salem and High-A Greenville.
On the heels of such an impressive year, Yorke has been recognized as one of the best prospects in Boston’s farm system if not all of baseball. The same cannot be said for the player who finished just behind Yorke in the organizational batting race.
Alex Zapete, a Dominican-born infielder, spent the entirety of the 2021 campaign playing in his home island and was among the top hitters in the Dominican Summer League.
Across 52 games for the Red Sox Blue DSL affiliate, Zapete slashed .314/.424/.415 to go along with 10 doubles, two home runs, 23 RBIs, 37 runs scored, six stolen bases, 30 walks, and 30 strikeouts over 198 total plate appearances.
Among those in the DSL who made at least 190 trips to the plate last year, the right-handed hitter ranked 13th in batting average, 10th in on-base percentage, 29th in slugging percentage, 17th in OPS (.839), 18th in wRC+ (140), 26th in walk rate (15.2%), and 31st in strikeout rate (15.2%), per FanGraphs.
Defensively, Zapete spent almost as much time at third base as he did first base, as he logged 303 innings at the hot corner and 302 1/3 innings on the opposite side.
Upon signing with the Red Sox for just $45,000 as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in July 2018, Zapete was viewed more so as a third baseman who could play a little bit of first base as well.
Last season, however, the 6-foot, 180 pounder made his professional debut as a catcher. He caught one game (and all nine innings) against the DSL Dodgers Shoemaker affiliate on August 3 and threw out one of the four base runners who attempted to steal against him.
While Zapete did not see any additional time behind the plate beyond that contest, Red Sox assistant general manager Eddie Romero told BloggingtheRedSox.com via email that the Gaspar Hernandez native is indeed “working on becoming a catcher.”
Zapete, who turned 20 in September, was on the older side for position players who saw action in the Dominican Summer League last year. He also spent the 2019 campaign in the Dominican and earned DSL All-Star honors.
The 2020 minor-league season may have been wiped out because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Zapete certainly made the most of his opportunity in 2021 and — as Romero put it — “had a great year.”
On that note, Romero says that Zapete is slated to start the 2022 season in the rookie-level Florida Complex League. He can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career later this year, though it seems unlikely that will affect him considering he is still a ways away from the upper minors.
Despite being born and raised on opposite sides of the country, Triston Casas and Nick Yorke share something in common in that they are both former first-round draft picks of the Red Sox.
Casas, a Florida native, was selected by Boston in the first round of the 2018 amateur draft while Yorke, a California native, was selected by Boston in the first round of the 2020 amateur draft.
Both highly-touted prospects coming out of their respective high schools, the pair of young infielders first got to know each other at the Red Sox’ alternate training site in Pawtucket during the final weeks of the compressed 2020 season.
Last year, each of Casas and Yorke received an invite to major-league spring training and the two became roommates in Fort Myers as a result.
While the duo went their separate ways and were assigned to different affiliates once minor-league camp broke in May, they both enjoyed great success on an individual level in 2021.
Casas, in what his his third professional season, split the year between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester, though he needed to step away from affiliated ball for a few weeks over the summer to help Team USA win a silver medal in the Tokyo Olympics.
Across 86 games with the Sea Dogs and WooSox, Casas batted a respectable .279/.394/.484 to go along with 15 doubles, three triples, 14 home runs, 59 RBIs, 63 runs scored, seven stolen bases, 57 walks, and 71 strikeouts over 371 total plate appearances. The left-handed hitting first baseman also posted a .982 OPS in 21 games for the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League.
Yorke, getting his first true taste of pro ball, initially got off to a slow start with Low-A Salem, but performed exceptionally enough there to earn a promotion to High-A Greenville in late August. Between the two Class-A levels, the right-handed hitting second baseman slashed an astounding .325/.412/.516 with 20 doubles, five triples, 14 homers, 62 RBIs, 76 runs scored, 13 stolen bases, 52 walks, and 69 strikeouts over 97 total games spanning 442 trips to the plate.
While receiving plenty of attention for what they did on the field over the course of the 2021 campaign, Casas and Yorke were both recently recognized by Baseball America as two of the top-40 prospects in the game heading into the 2022 season.
Subsequently, the Red Sox kicked off a weeklong minicamp at their Fenway South complex on Monday. This “Winter Warm-Up” program was implemented with the idea of getting a larger group of prospects and minor-leaguers into a warmer climate.
Of the 28 players who were invited to participate in this minicamp, Casas and Yorke obviously stick out as the headliners given their standing as two of the top prospects in Boston’s farm system.
With the opportunity to further their development, though, also comes the opportunity to build upon previously established relationships. Casas and Yorke are clearly close already, but are once again rooming up down in Southwest Florida.
Casas was among those who spoke with reporters on Wednesday. He seems to like playing with Yorke, noting that the two have “gravitated toward each other.”
There is a chance that Casas and Yorke are among those who stick around in Fort Myers until minor-league camp begins in full around mid-March.
While Casas, who turned 22 this month, is projected to begin the 2022 season with Worcester and Yorke, who turns 20 in April, is projected to begin the 2022 season with Greenville, the former is hopeful that he will be sharing the same infield with the latter before long.
“I know we’ll be teammates soon,” Casas said of Yorke. “He’ll catch up to me soon.”
(Picture of Triston Casas: Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images)
Beginning next week, the Red Sox will be running a minicamp for minor-leaguers who are not currently on the club’s 40-man roster.
This mini-camp, which is otherwise known as the Winter Warm-Up, essentially serves as precursor to spring training. It will consist of strength training, conditioning, and on- and off-field instruction and will be held at the Fenway South complex in Fort Myers.
On Thursday evening, the Sox revealed who will be attending this mini-camp. The contingent heading down to Southwest Florida consists of 28 players — 12 pitchers, four catchers, nine infielders, and three outfielders.
Breaking down the 28-man pool even further, the pitchers who will be participating include left-handers Brendan Cellucci, Austin Lambright, Chris Murphy, Brandon Walter, and Jeremy Wu-Yelland, and right-handers Michael Feliz, Franklin German, Brian Keller, Zack Kelly, A.J. Politi, Chase Shugart, and Thaddeus Ward.
The group of catchers attending includes Kole Cottam, Jaxx Groshans, Nathan Hickey, and Stephen Scott. The infielders who will be going are Alex Binelas, Brainer Bonaci, Triston Casas, David Hamilton, Blaze Jordan, Christian Koss, Matthew Lugo, Ceddanne Rafaela, and Nick Yorke.
The outfield composition, on the other hand, will be made up of the likes of Tyler Dearden, Nick Decker, and Gilberto Jimenez.
Of these 28 players, Feliz is the only one with prior major-league experience. The Red Sox re-signed the right-handed reliever to a minor-league deal back in December and invited him to big-league spring training. The same can be said for a fellow righty in Kelly as well.
Additionally, four of the players identified above (excluding Feliz) were acquired by the Red Sox just last month. Binelas and Hamilton were the two prospects Boston picked up alongside Jackie Bradley Jr. in the trade that sent Hunter Renfroe to the Brewers, and Lambright and Keller were the two pitchers they selected in the minor-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft.
Besides that, the likes of Casas, Jordan, Yorke, and Jimenez represent just a few of the well-regarded prospects in the Red Sox farm system who will be at this minicamp.
As noted by SoxProspects.com’s Chris Hatfield, the idea of the Winter Warm-up is to include players who have already made it to full-season ball, which is why someone like Marcelo Mayer — who only played in the Florida Complex League last year — was not included.
On top of that, prospects on Boston’s 40-man roster — such as Brayan Bello, Kutter Crawford, Jay Groome, Bryan Mata, Connor Seabold, Josh Winckowski, Ronaldo Hernandez, Connor Wong, Jeter Downs, Hudson Potts, Jarren Duran, and Jeisson Rosario — cannot attend on account of the MLB lockout.
With that being said, The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey writes that the group of players who will be in Fort Myers will be receiving on-hand instruction from the Red Sox’ minor-league coaching and player development staff.