Sea Dogs second baseman Nick Yorke throws out a Patriots runner after scooping up a ground ball during Saturday’s game. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Saturday wasn’t the best day at the plate for Nick Yorke. The Portland Sea Dogs’ 21-year old second baseman saw his 13-game on-base streak snapped, going 0 for 5 with three strikeouts in a 6-2 loss to the Somerset Patriots.

Walking from the dugout to the clubhouse after the game, Yorke was matter of fact about his struggles at the plate in Saturday’s game, played in front of 7,034 fans at Hadlock Field.

“I was just chasing pitches out of the zone, and usually good things don’t happen when you do that. Come back tomorrow and hopefully swing at some strikes,” he said.

Games like Saturday are becoming rare for the 5-foot-11, 200-pound Yorke, Boston’s first-round selection in the 2020 MLB draft, 17th overall, out of Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, California. This is his first season with Double-A Portland.

Over his 13-game on-base streak, Yorke hit .327 (17 for 52) with 13 runs scored, eight RBI, four doubles and a pair of triples.

On the season, Yorke is hitting .260 with four home runs, a team-high 26 runs and 11 RBI. He is ranked as the fifth-best Red Sox prospect at, and fourth-best at Baseball America ranked him No. 7 going into the season, but two of the guys in front of him – Triston Casas and Masataka Yoshida – are in the majors.


“His swing decisions are good. He rarely chases, and when you’ve got an approach like that, it’s not an easy out,” said Sea Dogs manager Chad Epperson. “Nobody’s perfect, streaks are going to end, but he grinds out his ABs (at-bats). He’s going to give you a good AB the majority of the time.”

Considered a first-round reach by some draft analysts, Yorke was ranked No. 139 among all prospects entering the 2020 draft. The Red Sox and new Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom liked Yorke’s bat, and in his first season of pro ball in 2021, Yorke backed up his draft status. In 76 games for Low-A Salem and 21 for High-A Greenville, Yorke hit .325 with 14 home runs, 76 runs and 62 RBI.

Playing all of 2022 in Greenville, Yorke struggled, hitting .232 with 11 home runs, 48 runs and 45 RBI in 80 games. He never found a rhythm, going on the injured list three times. Yorke struck out 94 times last season, nearly three times for every walk he took (33).

So far this season, Yorke’s strikeout-to-walk ratio is better – 30 strikeouts and 20 walks. That’s a continuation of an improvement he made while playing for Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League last year, where in 19 games, he struck out 16 times while walking 12, to go with a .342 average, two home runs and 18 RBI.

“I’m just trying to swing at the right pitches, put the barrel on the pitches in the heart (of the plate) that I’m supposed to get the barrel on,” Yorke said.

Yorke’s inspiration is his mother, Robyn Yorke, a four-time softball all-American at Fresno State.


“She was a slap hitter, so it’s a little different. She was just a dirtbag, a grinder. She hit over .500 a couple years. Her uniform was always dirty, so that’s how I kind of want to always be,” Yorke said.

Now in his third season as a second baseman – he was primarily a shortstop in high school – Yorke is showing solid defensive skills.

“Freshman year of high school, I played second, but after that, I was pretty much a shortstop until I got drafted. I’ve made second base my home the last three years, and I’m having a good time with it. It’s something new, but I’m trying to get the hang of it,” Yorke said.

Saturday, he began a pair of 6-4-3 double plays, one in the first inning and another in the sixth. In the ninth inning, Yorke charged a slow roller by Brandon Lockridge, going to his right to make the play and get the out.

“That play where he came in on the run, they’re not as easy as he makes them. He puts himself into good position to make plays,” Epperson said.

Somerset took the lead with four unearned runs in the third inning, the big hit a three-run homer over the Maine Monster by Everson Pereira.

Ceddanne Rafaela set a Sea Dogs record with six stolen bases in the game, breaking Jeremy Hazelbaker’s mark of four stolen bases against New Hampshire on July 22, 2012. As a team, Portland swiped nine bags, also a team record. Rafaela had two hits, walked twice and scored both Sea Dogs runs.

The Sea Dogs lead the Eastern League with 75 steals – one more than Somerset.

“We’re working on all phases of the game, and baserunning’s a huge part of it,” Epperson said.

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