If you are a Padres fan, Mackenzie Gore is a name you should familiarize yourself with, if you have not already. Gore was drafted 3rd overall in this year’s draft after absolutely crushing his high school competition. He went 11-0 with a 0.19 ERA (you read that right, zero point one nine) in 74 1/3 innings with 158 strikeouts to counter his whopping five walks for Whiteville High School in North Carolina. Gore, somewhat unsurprisingly, won this year’s Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year Award to go along with his third state championship MVP award in four years.
Gore was phenomenal during all four years at Whiteville, allowing only 16 earned runs total during his high school career, but he really turned the corner this past offseason when he added 15 pounds and saw his fastball velocity jump to 95 mph. That velocity spike, coupled with increased stamina and a solid four pitch repertoire made him a consensus top-five pick coming into the draft.
While his numbers have been great throughout high school, Gore’s throwing motion has generated almost as much hoopla as his utter dominance. His prominent high leg kick is reminiscent of former Padre great, Trevor Hoffman. The Padres front office envision Gore as a future ace, but I doubt they would be greatly disappointed if he ended up with as storied career as number 51.
Padres fans are always somewhat reticent of high schoolers being selected in the first round after the Matt Bush fiasco (triggered!!!) in 2004, but Gore has done his best to calm any fears with his performance so far in the Arizona League this summer. Through 8.2 innings, he has allowed zero runs on only three hits, one walk, and has struck out 13 batters. Of those four baserunners, Gore has picked off three of them. Thanks to his outstanding performance so far this season, Gore debuted at #31 in Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects list (one spot behind #1 pick Hunter Greene), giving the Padres three prospects in the top 50.
All eyes will be on Gore as he continues to progress through the minor leagues toward the Big Show. Between Gore, Cal Quantrill, Adrian Morejon, and don’t forget Anderson Espinoza, Padres fans have a lot to be excited about for the next few seasons. The future is undoubtedly bright for the most beautiful city in America.