Padres: Clevinger acquisition could move MacKenzie Gore quicker

(Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
(Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /

The San Diego Padres made the biggest splash at the trade deadline, and it could help their top overall prospect move quickly to ‘The Show.’

MacKenzie Gore is the Padres’ top overall prospect and currently the sixth overall ranked name on Baseball America’s ‘2020 Top 100 MLB Prospects’ list. It is high praise for the big left-handed pitcher from North Carolina, but also well deserved.

The former third overall pick signed back in 2017 for $6.7 million and forewent his commitment to East Carolina University. His first year in glorified professional baseball in 2018, Gore made 16 starts and pitched 60 2/3 innings, posting a 4.45 ERA.

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In the realm of that season, a few things stuck out for Gore. First, Gore did strike a ton of hitters out. To be precise, 28.3 percent. He walked just 6.9 percent of hitters faced and held opposing hitters to a .256 average. Impressively, Gore posted a 3.25 FIP and 3.16 xFIP, respectively.

Last year Gore began his season at Class-A Advanced Lake Elsinore, where he completely dominated hitters. In 15 starts spanning 79 1/3 innings, Gore posted a 1.02 ERA, 2.38 FIP, 38.2 percent strikeout rate, and held batters to a .135 average. He was on another level.

Gore was promoted last year to Double-A after his impressive beginning at Class-A Advanced. He did well enough with the change in competition and quality of hitters, posting a 4.15 ERA across 21 2/3 innings. His strikeout rate did dip by Gore kept it north of 25 percent. Hitters could get more off Gore, but he did still do a great job in maintaining opponents’ averages down.

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It has been teased that Gore is the ‘next man up’ for the Padres. After their colossal deal involving Cleveland and the Texas Rangers, the Padres now have a vacancy to fill in the ranks. Cal Quantrill, who made 18 starts last season, was a part of the deal for Clevinger. The Padres still have a strong rotation, but losing Quantrill could open a door wide open for Gore.

The Padres are in an excellent position as a team where he does not necessarily need to start this season. Gore could be like Luis Patino and be a bullpen asset for the stretch run towards October. He could fill in for spot starts here and there, ultimately being used in relief. Whatever the case may be after this massive splash on the trade market, Gore should see himself moving quicker through and could be to the major leagues this season.