Welcome to a new feature here at Over The Monster in which we will be looking at the best players on the farm from the past week. With the new minor-league schedule being implemented this year that has teams playing six-game series every week with Mondays off, there are no Minor Lines on Tuesdays. We figured rather than just leaving that timeslot blank every week, we’d hand out some fake, virtual hardware. Each week, we’ll pick players of the week for both position players and pitchers, as well as an honorable mention in each category. (See Previous Winners Here)
Position Player of the Week
Nick Yorke, Salem
Yorke has been perhaps the hottest hitter in the Red Sox system for the last month, and arguably even going back to the start of July. And this past week was the peak of the run, so much so that the infielder was promoted to High-A Greenville on Monday because he clearly wasn’t being challenged in Salem. This past week last year’s first rounder played in five games, hitting .478/.500/1.000, collecting 11 hits including three homers, a triple and a double. He also scored 11 runs and knocked in 10. This is his third time garnering a mention in this column, including another week in the top spot two weeks ago.
After coming into the organization as a highly controversial draft selection last year given the gap between where he was picked and where public rankings had him, Yorke did get off to a brutal start this season. The 19-year-old was hitting just .195/.264/.220 after May, and it was easy to start getting nervous about his future at that point. All he’s done since then is rake. Since the start of June, he’s hitting .373/.467/.608 over 255 plate appearances. In August, he’s got a 1.352 OPS, with the power starting to come through in a way I frankly did not expect to see this season.
With the way he is playing, and the aforementioned promotion up to High-A despite having just graduated high school last summer, Yorke is going to start getting some real national love this offseason. Kiley McDaniel had him just outside his top 50 earlier in the month, and the stock has only risen since then. This is the kind of thing I’ll put more thought into after the season, but my initial reaction right now is to have Yorke as the number four prospect in the system at this point, behind only Triston Casas, Jarren Duran and Marcelo Mayer. It’s possible I’m getting too caught up in a hot few months, but between that performance, his presence at the Alternate Site late last summer and in camp this spring, I’m having a hard time figuring out who else I’d put above him.
Honorable Mention: Ronaldo Hernández, Portland
This is the first appearance for Hernández in this column all year, and while the playing time was not great there was weird weather throughout the system this week to limit everyone’s time. So Hernández gets the nod despite playing in only four games, hitting .500/.563/.929. Coming over from Tampa Bay in an offseason trade, the hope was that Hernández would separate himself as the catcher of the future this season, but the offense has been too inconsistent for a bat-first backstop. On the year he’s hitting .253/.297/.456, but if he can finish the season strong he’ll be back in that future conversation next spring.
Pitcher of the Week
Connor Seabold, Worcester
Seabold didn’t just have the best start of the week for the Red Sox system, giving him his first mention in this column all season. He had one of the best starts any pitcher in the team’s farm system has had all year long. The righty was dominant in his lone start of the week, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh and ultimately allowing just a single and over seven shutout innings of work, striking out nine in the process.
The righty, who came over to Boston in the Brandon Workman/Heath Hembree deal last summer, got his season off to a very late start after a spring injury. Rather than become midseason rotation depth as was hoped coming into the season, Seabold missed the first few months of the season with inflammation in his elbow. But since he has returned to the mound, it’s been mostly very encouraging. He’s made six starts at Worcester since his return from the injured list, pitching to a 3.73 ERA over 31 1⁄3 innings while striking out 36 and walking eight.
Seabold is still one of the top starters in the system, and I’d probably have him number two among starters behind Tanner Houck and ahead of Brayan Bello, though the gap isn’t huge. The ceiling is still not massive, but Seabold has the pitch mix you need to survive in the rotation and should be able to step in as a solid back-end option as soon as next season. If roster expansion still went to 40 he’d certainly be up next month, but with only two extra spots opening up that could be a tougher sell. Look for him to finish the season strong and come into next season looking to be the number six starter on the depth chart to begin camp.
Honorable Mention: Chris Murphy, Portland
Murphy has been a bit overshadowed this season by the aforementioned Bello, who made the jump from Greenville to Portland a little bit earlier than the southpaw. But Murphy, who is a bit older to be fair, has done better with that transition. In his most recent outing the 23-year-old tossed seven scoreless innings on one hit, seven strikeouts and one walk. Over 17 innings across three Double-A starts, he’s allowed four runs on 21 strikeouts and five walks. His command issues still concern me — he’s allowed 20 homers in 17 starts in 2021 — but the stuff makes him an easy top 20 prospect in this system, and probably closer to 10 than 20.