What’s up with MacKenzie Gore?

Prospects always meet their cliches.

They’ll break your heart.

There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.

Most are busts.

But the one thing for sure about prospects, you just don’t know what you have with them. I could reminisce about Fernando Tatis Jr. and Marver pointing out the fairly high percentage for him possibly becoming a bust due to poor performance in Low A. Nah.

HJ is probably bummed that a piece would be published here about prospects during the year of our lord and savior AJ Preller 2021 leading us to the promised playoff land. Like quite a few of us, he has waited at least 10 years to not give a shit about prospects anymore. Who cares about prospects? They are now fungible assets to obtain better major league pieces to make the team better in the post season. The post season is all that matters.

The Padres have two prospects that could actually impact the big league club later this season. CJ Abrams and MacKenzie Gore are the Padres two best prospects they’ve had in quite a while and both have advanced to the upper levels of MiLB. Abrams could probably take all of Ha-Seong Kim’s playing time and hold his own defensively while producing more offensively. But that is another discussion for another time. Abrams could be added later in the season easily and might give them a boost toward the season’s end.

The dude we are here and right now to discuss is MacKenzie Gore. But who is Mackenzie Gore and who will he be when he is a Padre? Actually when reviewing his data and video content, you mostly end up with more questions than anything else. Gore is pitching for the El Paso Chihuahuas. He’s 22 now and is entering his fifth year with the Padres.

How he’s doing is tough to pin down in one sentence, but you could say he’s getting some innings and doing some work. He’s made five starts yet only thrown 18-2/3 IP while sporting a 5.30 ERA. FIP is decent at 3.81 and he has 17Ks to 10BBs. He has yet to give up a home run. You could easily make a case that he is mostly having bad luck and would benefit from an MLB defense. You can also state he does have some lingering concern with command issues, but those might have been connected to his earlier blister issues.

If the plan is to keep his workload light and steady to save him for a late (mid-late) season call up, I’d say it is not a bad idea. A lefty who can be a bit wild in the zone, but with plus pitches across the board, Gore has the stuff Snell is made of. Maybe they should spend some more time together. I don’t know. I hate hoz

Can Gore pitch at the MLB level and be productive is the question I’d like to examine because some modeled and forecasted data show he could be a solid contributor this season. Steamers says he could be worth a half a win over eight starts and at his current pace he probably could use the innings. Pitching for a playoff contender probably has benefits for him as well. I cannot quantify said benefits so we will qualify them as soft benefits and leave it at that. Of course, a playoff roster gets paid pretty well if you go far enough.

Gore pitching for an MLB team as a first round high school pitcher draftee in his fifth season is not unheard of nor without at decent data set. This could help us see how well he may perform. From 2014 to 2018 there have been 42 pitchers drafted out of high school. Of those to make it, 16 have thrown in MLB. Those 16 have averaged 23.2 innings in their first year and averaged 0.3 wins.

Gore could be a half a win guy, or maybe better?Possibly worse? Is he bettter than the average of his recent predecessors? Ryan Weathers, whom the Padres just announced will move to the bullpen, has amassed 0.5 fWAR. I’d think the Padres will have some innings in the second half to find out. If he can build up his innings per outing as the minor league season progresses, he should be the top contender from the farm to do so.

MacKenzie Gore has an opportunity to be a star rookie pitcher coming on to a playoff contending team. That’s pretty cool to even have. And how he’ll do is still a guess. But I hope he takes it and runs with it. I hope they put ugly boats in the bay. I hope he wins a game in the series too.


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