Former top 10 prospect MacKenzie Gore is set to kick off Spring Training games for the Padres on Friday.
The Padres will finally begin Spring Training games this Friday, March 18. When the Padres take the field against the Seattle Mariners at 1:10 pm PT, lefty prospect MacKenzie Gore will take the mound first.
First pitcher in Friday’s opener? @Mgore181
— jesse agler (@jesseagler) March 16, 2022
MacKenzie Gore is starting Friday’s Cactus League opener for the Padres.
Austin Nola will catch. Other regulars will start as well. Just 18 games this spring. Bob Melvin says every game will carry more weight in positions (such as catcher) where there is competition.
— Kevin Acee (@sdutKevinAcee) March 16, 2022
Some updates: Fernando Tatis Jr. is having wrist surgery this morning, Bob Melvin said. Mack Gore will pitch in the Cactus League opener on Friday.
— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) March 16, 2022
He is reportedly scheduled for two innings.
In 2020, Gore was listed as the No. 3 prospect in all of baseball. After some pesky injuries and a breakdown in mechanics led to a lackluster 5.85 ERA in six starts in Triple-A last year, the list of doubters began to grow. He bounced around from High-A and Double-A along with Triple-A El Paso. Overall, in 12 starts, he posted a 3.93 ERA last season. The biggest concerns were his lack of consistent control and decrease in velocity. In a start in early May of last year in Tacoma, Gore was hovering around 94 mph.
The Padres are looking for him to find the form he was in when he posted a 1.02 ERA in 15 starts for Lake Elsinore in 2019.
— Nick Lee (@NickLee51) May 8, 2021
Early in camp this spring, those concerns look to be put to rest.
95-99 mph and over/around the plate. https://t.co/XdO1Mc0MBd
— Kevin Acee (@sdutKevinAcee) March 11, 2022
If Gore is truly flirting with 99 mph velocity now, that is a breakthrough, especially if it’s with accuracy. That kind of development can lead to him becoming a top-tier prospect again. With how 2021 went with the Padres’ pitching staff breaking down over the course of the long season, the Friars may need to count on Gore at some point. According to MLB Pipeline, Gore went from the No.3 overall prospect to No. 55 this year. He has a chance on Friday to establish some positive momentum and get back to being compared to Clayton Kershaw and other dominant lefties.
Perhaps we are already seeing the hire of new pitching coach Ruben Niebla pay dividends.
MacKenzie Gore on Ruben Niebla:
"He's been great, great communicator. Makes it easy to understand. He's helped me a lot."
— Darnay Tripp (@DarnayTripp) March 16, 2022
Padres fans will get their first look at the 2022, perhaps the new-and-improved version of Gore on Friday afternoon.