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Red Sox use first-round pick on San Jose high schooler

Archbishop Mitty High School graduate Nick Yorke was selected by the Boston Red Sox with the 17th overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft. (Courtesy: @AMHAthletics/Twitter)

San Jose, Calif.  (BVM) – It was perhaps the first real stunner of the 2020 MLB Draft, and not exactly a pick that was predicted in many mock drafts.

The Boston Red Sox – who didn’t have a second-round pick after losing it as punishment for illegal sign-stealing – selected Nick Yorke, an Archbishop Mitty High School graduate, with the 17th overall pick. The right-handed second baseman was the No. 139-ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline ahead of the draft, making his early selection a bit of a head-scratcher.

A shoulder surgery prevented him from playing the field last year, too.

Yorke still contributed as the team’s designated hitter during his junior campaign despite being kept away from defense, and it’s here where it begins to make sense why the Red Sox used their first top 20 pick since 2016 on the 18-year-old.

In 2019, Yorke told SportStars Magazine that it was a “huge struggle” being away from the infield and being confined to a DH role, but who could tell? He led the team with a .505 batting average, seven homers and a league-best 40 RBIs that season.

A pandemic-shortened senior season allowed Yorke just five games where he went 8-for-15 with a double, two homers, nine runs and six RBIs. Yorke hit a combined .503 (97-for-193) in his final three seasons and finished his high school career with a .457 average.

The first-round pick committed to the University of Arizona in Oct. 2018, but Wildcats head coach Jay Johnson will have a tough task convincing his prized recruit to turn down a deal with Boston.

“Nick is an elite player – in my opinion one of the best in the country,” Johnson said on National Signing Day. “He has a complete skill set that includes hitting ability, plus defense, a tenacious attitude and a will to win. He often shows up as the best player on the field no matter who he is competing against.”

Yorke is the eighth player from Archbishop Mitty to be drafted, and if he makes it to the big leagues, he’ll be the fourth from his school to do so. Mike Vail (Mets, 1975) was also drafted out of high school while Mitch Haniger (Cal Poly, 2012) and Trevor Hildenberger (California, 2014) both followed more recently. Yorke is also the second player from Archbishop Mitty to be drafted by the Red Sox, after Boston drafted Aaron Bates out of North Carolina State in 2009.

Athleticism not only runs in the hallways of Archbishop Mitty, but in the Yorke family.

Nick’s mother, Robyn, was a four-time All-American softball player at Fresno State and played in three College World Series. His brother, Joe, just wrapped up his freshman year of playing baseball at Boise State University.

Red Sox amateur scouting director Paul Toboni told MLB.com that their first-round pick reminds him of a Fenway Park legend.

“He’s got a little bit of (Kevin) Youkilis to him, maybe,” Toboni said. “He’s got that rugged advanced hit tool. When I said rugged, like, that rugged look about him. He’s a really physical kid. We think he’s going to get to power. That type of offensive profile but different in that he can play in the middle of the field.”

The comparison is high praise for an 18-year-old, but Toboni and Chaim Bloom — in his first year as chief baseball officer for the Red Sox – must have confidence in a pick that could determine the future of their job security down the line.

It’ll likely take some years before Nick Yorke is called up to the big leagues, but the Red Sox first-round pick believes he already belongs at Fenway.

“I was there during a Cooperstown 12U trip,” Yorke told MLB.com. “We took a trip to Boston and we caught a game. I think my swing fits perfectly there. A lot of my power goes to right-center, so I think I can hit a lot of triples just because of that alleyway in the right-center-field gap.”

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