Red Sox

5 things to know about Red Sox 1st-round draft pick Nick Yorke

Paul Toboni compared him to a two-time World Series champion.

Archbishop Mitty high school shortstop Nick Yorke. LiPo Ching/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

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The Red Sox selected Nick Yorke, a second baseman out of Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Calif., with their first pick in the 2020 MLB Draft. Drafted at No. 17 overall, Yorke was the first top-20 pick by the Red Sox since 2016.

Here are five things to know about the 18-year-old, who is expected to sign with the team.

Shoulder surgery kept him off the field last year.

After two strong years at shortstop, Yorke was nearly sidelined as a junior. Shoulder surgery on his throwing arm kept him out of the defense for Archbishop Mitty, but he still contributed as the team’s designated hitter.

“Not being able to play defense was a huge struggle for me,” he told SportStars Magazine. “It was tough staying engaged just playing DH.”

Even if he was struggling, Yorke didn’t show it. In 2019, he led the team with a .505 batting average and a league-best 40 RBIs.

He was headed to the University of Arizona.

Yorke committed to the University of Arizona in October 2018.

“Nick is an elite player – in my opinion one of the best in the country,” Arizona coach Jay Johnson said on National Signing Day. “He has a complete skill set that includes hitting ability (both for average and power), plus defense, a tenacious attitude, and a will to win.”

Baseball America ranked Arizona’s incoming class as the eighth-best in college baseball, but it’s unlikely Yorke will be a part of it. The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier reported Wednesday night that the first-rounder is expected to sign for less than the recommended value of $3.61 million.

He’s not the first player from his high school to be drafted.

Yorke is the eighth player from his high school to be drafted. If he makes it to the big leagues, Yorke will be the fourth Archbishop Mitty alum to do so.

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Mike Vail, who debuted with the Mets in 1975, was drafted out of high school, and Mitch Haniger (Cal Poly) and Trevor Hildenberger (California) followed in 2012 and 2014, respectively.

Yorke said Wednesday he has met Haniger previously, but one of his major influences is Trevor Bettencourt, a pitcher in the Phillies system, with whom he has been working out this summer.

He’s also the second player from Mitty to be drafted by the Red Sox. In 2006, Boston drafted Aaron Bates out of North Carolina State. Bates made five appearances with the Red Sox in 2009 and moved on to Minnesota and St. Louis before retiring in 2014.

He gets his athleticism from his mother.

Yorke’s mother Robyn was a four-time All-American in softball at Fresno State from 1993-97, where she played in three College World Series. A left-handed slap hitter, she introduced all three of her sons to baseball – and passed down her talents.

“She’s been my personal hitting coach for 17 years,” Yorke said on a Zoom call with the media Wednesday night.

Yorke did move away slightly from his mother’s teachings. His left-handed swing was unnatural, according to his older brother Joe, so he reverted back to batting righty.

“You hear stories about how my dad taught me this, my grandpa taught me this,” Joe Yorke, who plays baseball at Boise State, told The Mercury News in 2018. “For us, it was our mom.”

Paul Toboni compared him to another Sox draft pick.

Red Sox director of amateur scouting Paul Toboni compared the six-foot, 195-pound right-hander to Kevin Youkilis.

“He’s got that rugged, advanced hit tool,” Toboni said on a Zoom call with reporters Wednesday night. “When I say rugged, that rugged look about him. He’s a really physical kid and we think he’s going to get to power.

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“That type of offensive profile, but different in that he can play in the middle of the field.”

Youkilis was drafted by the Red Sox in the eighth round of the 2001 MLB Draft and went on to become a three-time All-Star, a Gold Glove winner, and two-time World Series champion in nearly nine seasons with the team (2004-12)

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