The Diamondbacks certainly have a need to add pitching, and everything else, and Mackenzie Gore falling to them would be a gift from the baseball gods. Gore is a guy I have projected in my Top 5, going to the Braves with the 5th pick. Gore is a similar prospect coming out of high school to Clayton Kershaw, although I don’t think that Gore will match Kershaw’s career. He commands the full mix: fastball, curveball, slider, change-up and commands it very well.
His delivery is painful to watch. He starts off with the most insane leg lift and uses that along with gravity to develop momentum towards home plate. Another note is Gore is the most flexible human being I’ve ever seen play baseball. I worry that he’ll lose flexibility in the future and that will severely impact his abilities. He gets good extension to home plate despite being only 6’2” and that allows his low 90s fastball to look faster to the hitter. Really the only issue I have with the delivery is a leg lift. I do think he should slow down the delivery a bit so he’s not moving too fast while delivering the pitch. Maybe a brief pause coming down, then forward like Kershaw has in his windup.
Fastball: Fastball sits in the low 90s but because he gets great extension off the mound, the fastball plays faster than 90-94. Because of that, he can be effective both up and down in the zone with it. Fastball command is what will set up his other pitches. Grade: 60/60
Curveball: Curveball gets a lot of downward movement, although there is a lot of lateral movement in it as well. It’s not a balloon curve, it’s snaps off the table after the illusion of a fastball. It could be a lethal weapon against batters that have poor pitch recognition skills. Grade: 55/65
Slider: On his best days, Gore likely only needs fastball and curveball to get through lineups, but he also throws a hard slider. It doesn’t get as much bite as his other secondaries, but it has plus potential. It could use a bit more lateral break on it. Grade: 50/60
Change-Up: The change-up gets a lot of downward movement and has arm-side fade. It’s a weapon against right-handed batters off the outside edge of the zone. On his best days, that pitch will flash plus potential. Grade: 55/60
Command: Gore has exceptional command for a high school prospect who will be 18 years and 4 months old at the time of the draft. The combination of stuff and the ability to throw it to both sides of the plate makes Gore a tough match-up against for either a righty or lefty at the plate. Because he has 4 pitches, he doesn’t need all of his pitches working to be effective. Grade: 55/65
Gore is probably the closest thing to Clayton Kershaw I’ve ever seen from a prospect in 11 years. From the high and unusual leg left to the strong fastball, curveball combination off elite extension from the mound, there are a lot of similarities between the two. Gore may or may not follow a similar path to success as Kershaw, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility he establishes him with the same level of dominance. I don’t think he falls out of the Top 5 because of it.