It’s not every day you make your debut against a World Series champion. San Diego Padres top prospect MacKenzie Gore will face The Atlanta Braves Friday night in his first MLB start.
Gore is ranked as the 85th overall prospect in Major League Baseball. He has rapidly ascended through the minor league system since being taken third overall by the Padres in the 2019 draft. Gore is from Whiteville, North Carolina. He opted for the pros instead of pitching for Eastern Carolina University.
His path to the major leagues has been impressive considering that Gore did not pitch at all in 2020 season due to the global pandemic. Gore joins the team as left-hander Blake Snell will be officially placed on the injured list.
The Atlanta Braves offense will be a monumental challenge for the rookie pitcher
Gore features a wicked arsenal headlined by a fastball that touches 98. He mixes in a slider, a curveball and a changeup which has been heralded for its sharp downward breaking action.
Gore will need these tools and more as he attempts to stifle a World Series Champion lineup in the Atlanta Braves. Being left-handed may help him neutralize newly acquired slugging first baseman Matt Olson. But Austin Riley and Marcel Ozuna have been lethal to kickoff the season, regardless of which hand the pitchers throw with.
The 23-year-old will look to prove himself as he does his best to navigate the second game of the three-game home series.
Gore is coming off of a strong showing with the San Diego Padres AAA affiliate the El Paso Chihuahua’s. He dominated the Round Rock Express over five innings, striking out seven and only allowing two hits.
The Atlanta Braves will counter with their own young pitcher in Kyle Wright. Two sides matchup on Jackie Robinson Day o which players on both teams will don Robinson’s number 42.
While the liklihood this matchup will have major implications for either club is low, this will be a momentous occasion for Gore. A strong showing against the Atlanta Braves could encourage the Padres to keep the young southpaw in the majors. But a rough outing could humble a prospect who has known nothing but success in his career to this point.
Regardless, Padres fans will get a glimpse of the future on Friday night on the grandest of stages. Will Gore be able to elevate himself to seize the moment?