Pitching wins championships. At least, that seems to be the mantra of general manager AJ Preller as he assembled a roster built not only to contend in 2021, but for years to come.
The San Diego Padres landed two of the game’s premier arms in Yu Darvish and Blake Snell this offseason – and did so without ransacking their farm system, something that was thought to be undoable by followers of both the Rays and the Cubs. And the team’s top talent, left-hander MacKenzie Gore, shortly thereafter earned praise as the best left-handed pitching prospect in the game – just rubbing salt in the wounds of those on the other side of those trades.
More from Friars on Base
- Fernando Tatis Jr. may not take to outfield move after Xander Bogaerts addition
- Padres News: Fernando Tatis Jr. trade rumors, Seth Lugo chase, Manny Machado
- Padres barely missed out on high-end veteran starting pitcher
- This veteran DH target seems ideal for contending Padres roster
- Padres got steal with Xander Bogaerts after Carlos Correa’s mega-deal
Here’s what MLB Pipeline had to say about Gore:
"The best pitching prospect in baseball, Gore didn’t arrive in the Majors as expected in 2020 because his mechanics got out of sync. But he still has front-of-the-rotation upside with the potential for four plus pitches and control to match, not to mention a deceptive delivery."
Gore, who turns 22 next month, has long been regarded as one of the premier pitching prospects in baseball and that hasn’t changed. Two years ago, the last MiLB season we enjoyed, saw him absolutely dominate High-A ball, working to a 0.706 WHIP and 1.02 ERA before getting his first taste of Double-A ball, where he definitely saw a higher level of competition (4.15 ERA, 1.292 WHIP).
Padres have MacKenzie Gore behind an already-loaded staff
He could very well play a role for San Diego at some point in 2021. But we can’t lose sight of the fact that Gore – along with every minor leaguer – missed an entire year of development due to the pandemic. Sure, there was Summer Camp – but that’s a far cry from getting to work through the grind of a typical season.
Given the Padres’ abundance of arms, the organization might be able to take their time with Gore. After all, he has a whopping 21 2/3 innings of Double-A ball to his credit at this point. That’s hardly what you’d consider an ideal body of work, never mind the fact he’s never pitched at the Triple-A level.
The fact Preller kept the team’s top prospects in his arsenal is of monumental importance. Look, that might not be something fans notice in 2021. But you’re sure going to notice it over the course of the next decade when many of these arms, namely Gore, is standing on the mound at PETCO Park leading the Padres deep into the postseason.