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November 24, 2020 at 9:00 AM

Scout Chatter: Nick Yorke, Blaze Jordan and more from Fall Instructs


 The Red Sox recently wrapped up their Fall Instructional League program. This is the second of several articles based on reports we received from Instructs. The data we’ve collected will be up on the News Page for your reading pleasure before we use it to update player page scouting reports, so forgive any inconsistencies until that point. Today, we focus primarily on players selected in the 2020 Draft and signed as undrafted free agents

- As the only member of this year’s draft class to participate at the Alternate Training Site workouts this year—albeit for about a week and a half—second baseman Nick Yorke had a leg up on the competition heading into Instructs. He had already seen what pro pitching looked like, having jumped from high school in California straight into the deep end by facing arms with significantly more experience than him, but he was still able to hold his own in a small sample size. At Fall Instructs, the 2020 first-rounder was the most impressive member of the 2020 draft/NDFA class, showing off his offensive ability, but questions about his long-term defensive profile remain an issue. Yorke got off to a strong start at the plate, but as the camp went along, he struggled to pull the ball and seemed to be just trying to push the ball to right field. Regardless of his struggles near the end of camp, scouts were consistent in saying they believe he can hit and they are high on his bat, enough so that even with a questionable defensive profile and below average speed, they still like him. 

- The second-most impressive member of the draft class was third-round pick Blaze Jordan, who had an up-and-down Fall Instructional League. Jordan showed off huge raw power and good arm strength, but struggled with the other areas of his game. He has a strong build, but is limited athletically, and for now scouts think he will end up at first base. Jordan was impressive against the lesser pitching prospects in attendance, but struggled with some of the harder-throwing prospects such as Durbin Feltman, against whom he “was blown away.” That is understandable given that Feltman is more than five years his senior, but still scouts questioned the former Mississippi high schooler’s contact ability and are concerned about his ability to hit velocity, especially when it is up in the zone. Jordan’s strength and power should carry him through the low minors, but in order to reach his ceiling, he will need to develop into a complete hitter and improve his approach and pitch recognition. 

- Fifth-round pick Shane Drohan was mentioned in the same tier as Jordan based on his solid performance at the Fall Instructional League. At the camp, Drohan’s raw stuff wasn’t on the same level of some of the top arms like Aldo Ramirez, Brayan Bello and Eduard Bazardo, but he showed good athleticism and long-term projection. The former Florida State left-hander has room to add muscle and though his fastball was only 89-92 mph, he should add velocity long term. Drohan’s delivery works and he repeated it well. His secondaries flashed average, with his curveball showing the most potential. He needs development and to become more consistent, but the raw skill set is interesting and gives you something to dream on long-term. 

- Fourth-round pick Jeremy Wu-Yelland struggled with his control and gave up a lot of contact during Instructs. The left-hander out of Hawaii had to have several innings rolled (ended early before recording three outs due to his pitch count) and his stuff was inconsistent. His fastball sat 93-95 mph and topped out at 96-97 mph, and he mixed in an average slider in the low-80s. He does have arm strength, and as a left-hander, that profile could play in relief, but he didn’t seem like someone with a high ceiling. 

- Right-hander Brian Van Belle was one of the more sought after non-drafted free agents after a standout college career at Miami and he showed why, impressing at the Fall Instructional League. Van Belle’s bread and butter is his changeup, a plus offering and a potential difference maker. Van Belle also showed an average fastball at 89-93 mph and below-average curveball at 77-80 mph. The changeup separated him from a lot of the younger arms who are still refining their secondary pitches and gives him a high floor of at least an organizational arm, especially with his command profile. 

- Jordan DiValerio was the other undrafted free agent who pitched in games, but he wasn’t as impressive as Van Belle. The St. Joseph’s product  sat 89-92 with a changeup and splitter both in the 80-81 mph range and a breaking ball at 78-82 mph. He lacks a plus secondary pitch, but all of his pitches are usable enough that he seems like the type of solid organizational arm that every farm system needs.  

- At the very tail end of camp, the rest of the 2020 NDFA class was invited to Fort Myers for a short orientation and strength-and-conditioning camp, an important first step in the pro careers of the rest of the club’s 2020 amateur class. 

Photo Credit: Nick Yorke by Kelly O'Connor.

Ian Cundall is Director of Scouting for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @IanCundall.