Wow. That was the reaction when the Red Sox selected Nick Yorke out of high school with their first-round pick last night.
Now, the MLB Draft is a fickle thing. This time of year, baseball fans like to pretend like they know what they're talking about, but the fact of the matter is that they really don't. Hell, even most of the experts on MLB Network and ESPN don't, either. When your job is to evaluate MLB players, you're probably not paying a whole lot of attention to what kids in high school across the country are doing and even college. That's why they have prospect experts and evaluators, and even those individuals haven't mastered the craft of projecting future talent in baseball because it's damn near impossible.
We've seen first-round, first overall picks not even reach the big leagues. Baseball's draft is by far the most difficult to project future talent because it's not like in other sports where you'll see players from the draft competing at the highest level right away like in the NFL and NBA. Even some of the best talent taken in the draft will spend a year or two in the minor leagues, sometimes more, before they see the light of day in the big leagues. When dealing with talent out of high school, you're obviously looking at the longer end of the spectrum in terms of when you'll see these players at the big league level, as will likely be the case with Red Sox first-rounder Nick Yorke.
Do I think the Red Sox could've taken a player of higher value with their first-round selection? Absolutely. But I'm not Chaim Bloom. It's not my job to execute a draft and rebuild a farm system that was depleted as a means to build the winningest team in Red Sox history two years ago. There are factors in play here such as dollars allocated to the draft and the fact that the Red Sox don't have a second-round draft pick because of Evan Drellich.
There's also the simple fact that, hey, the Red Sox liked the player. The kid can hit. He's viewed as one of the best, if not the best hitter from the high school talent pool. That's a pretty good reason to select a player that high, even if he wasn't in the top 100 players that was sorted by all of these experts. But I keep going back to the idea that the MLB draft is so unpredictable. I mean, 24 teams passed on Mike Trout who will likely go on to become the greatest player in baseball history. You just don't know at this level of the player's development.
As far as Yorke goes, the hit tool is undeniable. The power potential is there, as he's six feet and close to 200 pounds, which I'm sure he'll continue to grow into that frame to maximize his power potential. If the defense is a question mark at this stage, which it is, then it's not that big of a deal being that he's so young and will now have all the help to improve at his disposal. We've seen plenty of Red Sox prospects have defense labeled as their Achilles heel who went on to become solid to above average defensive players at the major league level.
If the question is whether or not I like the pick, the answer is going to be the same every year. Nobody knows what these players will become. For all we know, Yorke will become the centerpiece of a trade that brings another stud to Boston that helps win a championship, or maybe he'll become a cornerstone up the middle that helps wins multiple championships like Xander Bogaerts. Don't know. All I know is that Chaim Bloom is extremely good at what he does, and he's well aware of the microscope that he's under here in Boston, and he's also well aware that this is the first draft that he's at the helm of with a major league franchise.
This isn't like your ESPN fantasy draft where you're on the clock for 90 seconds and scramble to make a pick because you didn't think that far ahead. The Red Sox have had plenty of time to access and evaluate their first-round pick, and we can say for certain that this wasn't a scramble pick, as Yorke wasn't projected to be anywhere in the top 100. This was their guy. You can say that the Red Sox missed out on better talent, or you can look at is as they were so sure of this player that they ignored the talent evaluation that existed outside of their own organization. That's clearly what they did, so welcome to the Red Sox family, Nick Yorke.
Also, it has not been lost on me that Bloom is less than a year on the job and he's already acquired N. Yorke and Jeter.