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Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Calif., has produced three big leaguers in the history of the Draft: Outfielders Mike Vail, who first came up with the Mets in 1975, and Mitch Haniger, who went on to Cal Poly before being drafted by the Brewers in 2012, as well as right-hander Trevor Hildenberger, who wasn’t drafted out of high school, but was drafted out of Cal in 2014. Yorke isn’t projected to go as early as Haniger did after his college career (No. 38 overall), but it’s a strong possibility his bat gets him off the board way earlier than either Vail (17th round of June 1970 Draft) or Haniger (31st round, 2009).
Scouts believe Yorke has a real chance to swing the bat, with perhaps even plus hit potential from the right side of the plate. He’s a natural hitter with a pure swing and an advanced approach at the plate and there’s enough power potential in there to believe he could eventually be a run-producing type of player.
The questions about Yorke pop up concerning his future defensive home. He’s played shortstop in high school, and might have the range, hands and instincts to stay there, but he had shoulder surgery and has anchors in his shoulder causing him to DH for all of his junior year in 2019. He was back on the dirt this spring, but what had been solid average arm strength had not yet returned. Still, he could profile very well as an offensive-minded second baseman with a bat that could be worth luring away from his commitment to the University of Arizona.
Yorke was the biggest surprise in the first round of the 2020 Draft, though some clubs regarded him as the best high school hitter on the West Coast. He was difficult to evaluate because shoulder surgery before his junior season in 2019 relegated him to DH duty that spring and limited him on the showcase circuit, and because the coronavirus shutdown meant he played just five games in 2020. But the Red Sox saw enough to believe that he can become an elite hitter, so they selected him 17th overall and signed him for an under-slot $2.7 million.
Yorke has a pretty right-handed swing and advanced plate discipline and pitch recognition. He hits the ball to all fields with authority and while most of his over-the-fence power presently comes to his pull side, he's adding strength and could develop into a .300 hitter who produces 20 homers annually. He joined Boston's alternate training site toward the end of the summer and though he was the youngest player there and had no pro experience, he didn't look out of place and reached base in five of his first six plate appearances, including a double off big leaguer Matt Hall.
A shortstop before he injured his shoulder, Yorke has the hands and instincts for that position but his fringy to average speed limits his range. His arm also hasn't come all the way back yet, another reason that second base appears to be his best fit. If he hits like the Red Sox believe he can, his bat will profile at a number of positions.
2020 Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 50 | Run: 45 | Arm: 45 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45
Though scouts regarded Yorke as one of the best high school hitters on the West Coast in the 2020 Draft, he was tough to evaluate. Shoulder surgery before his junior season in 2019 relegated him to DH duty that spring and led to limited appearances on the showcase circuit, and the coronavirus shutdown meant he played just five games in 2020. The Red Sox believed so much in his bat that they surprised the industry by drafting him in the first round, signing him for a below-slot $2.7 million as the 17th overall pick.
Boston believes that Yorke has the tools to become an elite hitter. He has an advanced ability to recognize pitches and control the strike zone, and he has a sweet right-handed swing with plenty of bat speed that allows him to pepper the ball to all fields with authority. Most of his over-the-fence power currently comes to his pull side, but he's getting stronger and could blossom into a .300 hitter who produces 20 homers on an annual basis.
Yorke had solid arm strength before his surgery, but his arm hasn't bounced all the way back yet. A shortstop before he got hurt, he has the hands and instincts for that position but his fringy to average speed limits his range a bit. The safest bet right now is that he winds up at second base, but if he hits like the Red Sox expect he will, his bat will play anywhere.