MacKenzie Gore
22-Year-Old PitcherSP
San Diego Padres AAA
2021 Fantasy Outlook
Those highest on Gore thought he would debut in 2020, even in a shortened season, so the fact that he did not is relevant. The Padres maintain Gore was not promoted in part because they want him to debut in the rotation, not the bullpen, which is supposedly why Luis Patino got the call over him in August. He was on the postseason taxi squad, but it was Ryan Weathers whom the Padres turned to when they allowed a left-handed pitching prospect to make his MLB debut in a playoff game, not Gore. If they thought Gore was up for debuting in the rotation, they would have found room for him, so the fact is, he was kept down for performance reasons. He struggled with his command for much of the summer and needs to get more consistent with his secondary offerings. Gore's upside remains high and there have been no reports of an injury, so he will once again be a player to track this spring. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
$Signed a $6.7 million contract with the Padres in June of 2017.
Unlikely for Opening Day roster
PSan Diego Padres  AAA
March 30, 2021
The Padres don't plan to include Gore on their Opening Day roster, Dennis Lin of The Athletic reports.
Since Dinelson Lamet (elbow) is slated to begin the season on the injured list, Gore was given the chance to compete for the vacant fifth starter's role in spring training, but he never built much momentum in the job battle. He struggled to locate his pitches over his five Cactus League outings, working 11 innings and giving up seven runs (six earned) on 12 hits and eight walks. Adrian Morejon and Ryan Weathers clearly outperformed Gore in the competition for the rotation spot and thus will be first in line to fill in for Lamet. Gore could still be a candidate for a first-half promotion if he can show improved command at the Padres' alternate site and during the early portion of the minor-league season.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Gore turns 21 in February and finished 2019 with five starts at Double-A, so he is well ahead of schedule. Even so, one pitcher under 23 qualified for leaderboards last year, so we should never assume that a 21- or 22-year-old pitcher is ready to provide positive fantasy value. Other than left-handedness, there is nothing we would say about Gore that we wouldn't have said about Forrest Whitley a year ago, and we know how Whitley's 2019 played out. Gore has prototypical size (6-foot-3, 195 pounds), four plus pitches and plus control. If he avoids significant arm injuries, he should be one of the game's top starting pitchers during his prime, but realistically we are still a few years away from the beginning of his prime. San Diego likes to aggressively promote prospects, so there is a scenario where he spends a good chunk of the year in the big-league rotation, but don't pay for the best-case scenario.
In early April, farm director Sam Geaney said publicly that the Padres were intent on fast-tracking Gore through the minor-league ranks. Unfortunately, injuries -- namely blister issues -- got in the way. A blister on Gore's left hand forced him to the DL to begin the season, and he struggled mightily in two starts upon his return before the issue put him right back on the shelf. Gore went on a brilliant run shortly after his return in June, posting a 2.25 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 43:13 K:BB over a seven-start stretch (32 innings) and reminding everyone why he is one of the most highly-regarded left-handed pitching prospects in the game. Gore's season ended prematurely due to a fingernail problem and he finished with just 60.2 innings, all at the Low-A level. The lost development time likely takes a 2019 debut off the table, but if he can build up past 110 innings or so this season, Gore could be a rotation regular for most of 2020.
The 2017 draft had a lot of high-end pitching talent, but Gore stands out as the cream of the crop. A prep product from North Carolina, Gore was drafted third overall by the Padres, receiving a slightly over-slot $6.7 million bonus. The 6-foot-2 lefty made his pro debut in the AZL and struck out five or more in five of his seven starts, despite never going more than four innings. Gore utilizes a mid-90s fastball and a knee-buckling curveball, both of which are at least plus pitches. He features a unique, straightened leg kick that comes up to his chin -- a timing mechanism that he is able to repeat from pitch to pitch. Gore’s intensity on the mound is another separator among his peers. In just 21.1 innings, he has already established himself as one of the game’s best pitching prospects. He should be one of the first few players from last year’s draft to come off the board in dynasty leagues, and has the potential to cruise to the upper levels of the minors.
More Fantasy News
In contention for roster spot
PSan Diego Padres  AAA
March 10, 2021
Gore is a serious candidate for a spot on the Opening Day roster, AJ Cassavell of reports.
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Ends spring debut strong
PSan Diego Padres  AAA
March 4, 2021
Gore recorded two strikeouts and walked three across 2.0 innings Thursday against the Rangers.
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Impressing to begin camp
PSan Diego Padres  AAA
February 25, 2021
Pitching coach Larry Rothschild said Thursday that Gore is pitching well early in spring training, Dennis Lin of The Athletic reports.
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Not seen as bullpen option
PSan Diego Padres  AAA
September 25, 2020
The Padres would like Gore to break into the big leagues as a starting pitcher, which is partly why he has not debuted this season, 97.3 The Fan reports.
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Not included on Opening Day roster
PSan Diego Padres  AAA
July 23, 2020
Gore is not part of the Padres' 30-man roster.
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