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Red Sox make MLB Draft reach with high school phenom Nick Yorke

June 11 (UPI) -- The Boston Red Sox took a deep dive down consensus prospect rankings and plucked high school star Nick Yorke with the No. 17 overall pick for one of the surprise selections in the 2020 MLB Draft.

The Archbishop Mitty High School (San Jose, Calif.) graduate ranked No. 139 in the MLB 2020 draft prospect rankings. He was No. 96 in Baseball America's Top-500 prospect rankings.

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"I felt like I was a first-rounder," Yorke told MLB Network. "I know a lot of rankings and sites didn't have me there. But personally I'm more of a blue collar, put-your-head-down, go-to-work kind of guy. I didn't go out and do all the Perfect Game [scouting service] things guys get ranked on.

"Wherever I played ball I played my hardest and the Red Sox fortunately saw me at one of those times and the rest is what just happened."

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While analysts, fans and other teams might have been surprised by the pick, the move didn't shock Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin. The Commodores coach tried to get Yorke to join his squad before he committed to Arizona.

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"It wasn't a surprise to me," Corbin told MLB Network. "We really recruited that kid. I thought he was the best hitter in high school baseball."

Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said his team had an advantage because they scouted Yorke before the coronavirus shut down baseball this year.

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Other MLB teams might have stayed away from Yorke because of limited scouting opportunities and the perception that he wanted to play college baseball.

Arizona State slugger Spencer Torkelson went with the No. 1 overall pick, as expected. Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad was selected No. 2 by the Baltimore Orioles. Minnesota's Max Meyer, Texas A&M's Asa Lacy and Vanderbilt's Austin Martin also went in the top five.

Yorke, 18, committed to play at Arizona in 2019, but now is expected to sign with Boston. The 6-foot, 195-pound infielder is known for his natural hitting ability and power.

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He played shortstop in high school, but moved to designated hitter as a junior after he had shoulder surgery. He saw limited action in the infield this spring before the high school baseball season was canceled.

Yorke went 8 for 15 with a double, two home runs, six RBIs and nine runs in five games this season at Archbishop Mitty. He hit .503 in his final three high school seasons.

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The Red Sox did not have a second-round pick and would have had to wait until the No. 89 overall pick to snag York -- if he still were available -- had they not selected him in the first round.

"From 17 to 89 is a long way," Red Sox scouting director Paul Toboni told Baseball America. "It felt like an eternity. I think that our perception of the industry's interests didn't match the public perception."

The 2020 MLB Draft continues with the second and third rounds at 5 p.m. EDT Thursday on MLB Network and ESPN2.

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