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Gore goes third in draft

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MacKenzie Gore, National Baseball Player of the Year. (Contributed photo/Gatorade)

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Staff, wire reports

Monday, June 12, 2017

East Carolina baseball recruit MacKenzie Gore saw his MLB draft stock soar during his senior year at Whiteville High School, culminating with him being projected as a top-five pick in the final days and hours leading up to Monday night.

The projection ended up being true, as the San Diego Padres took Gore with the third overall pick of the draft. That likely sealed that Gore will soon turn pro and not play at ECU. Most high school players who are selected in the first round of the MLB draft do not go to college, especially if they are a top-10 pick.

The signing bonus slotted for the third pick is $6.67 million.

“Even with his (high) leg kick, he repeats it the way (New York Yankees hurler) CC Sabathia always repeated his landing spot,” veteran baseball analyst Peter Gammons said on the MLB Network’s draft coverage of Gore, who signed with the Pirates early in his senior year. “That curveball is going to end up being a really good pitch for him. I think there were more people who thought he was the best pitcher in this draft than anyone else.”

Gore was the first player projected exclusively as a pitcher to be selected. MLB.com columnist Jim Callis said Gore was his favorite player in this draft class.

“I would have taken him No. 1 if it were my pick,” he wrote Monday night on MLB.com.

(Click here for recent Reflector feature on Gore)

The Minnesota Twins had the No. 1 pick and they went with shortstop Royce Lewis from Jserra Catholic (Calif.) High School. He was followed by Hunter Greene, a prep shortstop/pitcher who was recently featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

It has been an eventful few weeks for the hard-throwing, left-handed Gore, who in his final season at Whiteville struck out 158 batters and walked five with a 0.19 ERA in 74.1 innings. 

He was named national baseball player of the year by Gatorade on May 31 — becoming the first player from N.C. to ever win that award — and just a few days later guided Whiteville to its third state championship in four seasons.

“You just have to be able to enjoy it,” said Gore, after his pitching and hitting guided Whiteville to a 10-0 rout of Murphy in Game 1 of the 1-A state title series on June 2, of the hype surrounding his senior season.

Just a few months ago, Baseball America projected Gore as a middle first-round pick. It moved the lefty into the top-five recently and by Sunday night, had him going third to San Diego.

The first college player chosen was Louisville’s Brendan McKay, who went fourth to the Tampa Bay Rays.

  

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