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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, June 13, 2017 12:01 am

MacKenzie Gore likely to help TinCaps in 2018, not 2017

CHRIS GOFF | The Journal Gazette

Oh, it is going to happen. It might not be in 2017, but MacKenzie Gore will pitch for the TinCaps, and there will be just as much anticipation for his presence and performance as there was for other top prospects to play for Fort Wayne in recent years.

The MLB draft started Monday night, and the San Diego Padres selected Gore with the third overall pick. He is a left-hander turning pro right out of high school. The book on the 18-year-old is that he throws a tantalizing fastball and curveball.

Unfortunately for Fort Wayne, the Padres' low-A affiliate, Gore is highly unlikely to appear at Parkview Field this summer. A more realistic timetable is for the 6-foot-2, 180-pounder to arrive in 2018.

History provides a guide.

In 2015, the Padres' highest pick was at No. 51, and they took Austin Smith, another prep pitcher. He made nine starts that year in the Arizona Rookie League and didn't join the TinCaps until 2016.

Almost certainly, the Padres won't rush Gore to the Midwest League mere months after he leaves Whiteville High School in North Carolina.

Still, some immediate help could be on the way for the TinCaps. The slot value for the third pick is $6.7 million. San Diego has total bonus pool money of $11.84 million for the first 10 rounds.

The Padres made two other picks Monday, both prep catchers. They took Luis Campusano 39th overall and Blake Hunt 69th.

Gore, though, is the name to know for the future. He went 9-0 with a 0.22 ERA and had 132 strikeouts in 63 1/3 innings as a senior. Also, he helped Whiteville to its third state championship in the past four years.