MacKenzie Gore is generating buzz and rising up MLB First-Year Player Draft boards, as he consistently dominates opposing hitters every time he takes the mound for Whiteville High School in North Carolina this spring.
MLB.com ranks the senior left-handed hurler as the fifth-best prospect in June’s MLB Draft class. Some scouts even believe Gore is the top prep pitcher over well-regarded prep right-hander Hunter Greene.
Gore appreciates the draft attention, even with swarms of scouts flocking to watch every one of his starts.
“I’m enjoying all the attention. It brings more people to the game,” Gore chuckled. “I’m just enjoying it and not stressing about it. If I don’t get drafted, I’m just going to play baseball at East Carolina University. It’s a win-win situation.”
One trait that Gore is known for is his unorthodox high leg kick.
“It started in middle school,” said Gore about his leg kick. “I don’t know how or why it started, but I was always just taught to turn, show the hip pocket and balance. That’s just what I did. I’ve been able to repeat it with every pitch.
“I believe it helps me a lot (with my effectiveness). It can’t look normal.”
Gore has a four-pitch mix, featuring a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. His fastball sits in the mid-90s, while his curveball has developed into an above-average offering and an outstanding outpitch this spring.
Even though he has an advanced feel for pitching and throws a lot of strikes, Gore believes his best trait is his competitiveness.
“I want to win more than anyone else on the field and that’s all I care about when I go out there. Not the stats,” Gore said.
Last season, Gore was nearly unhittable, as he didn’t allow an earned run until the state championship series, which his team lost in two straight games.
Besides having a zero ERA for almost the entire season, Gore posted 158 strikeouts and just 11 walks in 76 innings as a junior in 2016.
Gore used last season as a learning experience.
“(Allowing an earned run) was probably why we lost the game because I got caught up in it,” said Gore about the state championship game. “I didn’t just go out there and win. I was mad that I gave up my first earned run. I let the team down a little bit.
“This year when I had a bad inning, (I made sure to) not to get out of it and just get the next guy out and keep competing.”
With the playoffs starting this week, Gore’s high school, Whiteville High School, will once again be a strong contender to win the state championship.
“To win a state championship is the main goal,” Gore said.
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