MacKenzie Gore: Prospect Profile, MLB Comparison for Padres' 1st-Round Pick

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistJune 12, 2017

Commissioner Rob Manfred speaks during the Major League Baseball draft, Thursday, June 9, 2016, in Secaucus, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Player: MacKenzie Gore

Position: LHP

DOB: Feb. 24, 1999 (18 years old)

Height/Weight: 6'2", 180 lbs

Bats/Throws: L/L

School: Whiteville High School (N.C.)

College Commitment: East Carolina

    

Background

Hunter Greene might be the most hyped high school prospect in the country, but it was MacKenzie Gore who took home Gatorade National Player of the Year honors.

The left-hander has been utterly dominant this spring, going 10-0 with a 0.20 ERA and 145 strikeouts in 68.1 innings of work for Whiteville High School in North Carolina.

"MacKenzie Gore is a fierce competitor. The combination of his elite athleticism and tremendous work ethic has made him one of the best players in the nation," Whiteville head coach Brett Harwood told Gatorade.

On top of his impressive work on the mound, he also hit .482 with 17 extra-base hits and 27 RBI, helping lead his team to a 23-6 record and a berth in the state championship.

He was equally impressive as a junior, going 12-1 with a minuscule 0.08 ERA and 174 strikeouts in 83.1 innings, while his team finished as runner-up in the state finals.

That on-field performance and a polished arsenal make him one of the year's elite prep arms.

    

Pick Analysis

There's not a ton of room to grow in his 6'2", 180-pound frame, but that's not necessarily a knock on Gore, as he might be the most polished high school arm in this year's class.

MLB.com provided a glowing scouting report of the southpaw's stuff:

"After Gore's fastball sat at 89-92 mph and reached 94 last summer, it has jumped about three mph this spring. He has maintained his newfound velocity into the late innings and continues to show feel for spotting his heater on both sides of the plate. His curveball has emerged as a true plus pitch and the best of his secondary offerings, which also include a hard slider and a tumbling changeup that also grade as plus at their best."

Gore employs a somewhat unorthodox delivery, with an extremely high leg kick. He gets good extension and creates some deception in the process.

His plus command and advanced feel for his stuff are comparable to Miami Marlins prospect and fellow lefty Braxton Garrett—a first-round pick last spring—though Gore has a higher ceiling.

    

MLB Player Comparison: Robbie Ray

Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

After tying for fourth in the National League with 218 strikeouts last season, Robbie Ray has taken a big step forward this season as one of the game's breakout arms.

The 25-year-old lefty works off a mid-90s fastball and a terrific slider, though he's begun throwing his curveball more this season, and it's an equally effective secondary weapon.

Gore should boast a similar repertoire and the ability to punch out hitters at a similarly impressive rate once he makes it to the next level.

His advanced command, however, will allow for a smoother transition to the majors than that of Ray, who pitched to a 4.65 ERA with a 3.6 BB/9 rate over his first three seasons and was traded twice in the span of one year.

There's also a fun comparison to be made to former New York Yankees right-hander Orlando Hernandez, thanks to that exaggerated leg kick.

The similarities between those two begin and end there, though.

    

Projection: No. 2/3 starter with ace upside if he can consistently generate swings and misses.

Major League ETA: 2021

Chances of Signing: 99 percent

Sorry, East Carolina, but Gore won't land on campus in the fall.

    

High school stats courtesy of USA Today. MLB stats courtesy of Baseball Reference.