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The Padres face some early-season uncertainty in the starting rotation. left handed Blake Snell was scratched from what was supposed to be his first start on Sunday after experiencing groin strain. Snell was not placed on the injured list, but is expected to need some time on the shelf to recover.

With Snell’s place in the rotation again tomorrow night against the Braves, it looks like mackenzie gore will get his first look in the big league. MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell tweeted On Tuesday, Gore joined the team’s taxi crew, and Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune wrote last night that the organization plans to place Snell on the IL soon and cast Gore in his place.

Gore’s prospect pool has fluctuated significantly in recent seasons. The third overall pick in 2017, he cut minor hitters in his first two pro campaigns. In the process, Gore has become a potentially elite young talent. Heading into the 2020 season, Baseball America, FanGraphs and The Athletic named Gore as the sport’s top pitching prospect. All three outlets ranked him among the top six minor league talents.

Having reached Double-A in late 2019, Gore looked like he could make his MLB debut at some point this season. The pandemic ended up necessitating a shorter schedule and a lack of minor league play, however, and Gore spent the year at the alternate training site. Reports surfaced that he went haywire mechanically, with Baseball America writing during the 2020-21 offseason there were concerns about both his control and a drop in speed.

Those red flags persisted last year, as Gore ran an alarming 12.5% ​​through opponents against a drastically reduced 18.8% strikeout rate in six Triple-A starts. The Padres reassigned him to their Arizona facility for a low-pressure job to get back on track, and he returned to an affiliate late in the season with a pair of Double-A starts. He walked eight more batters in nine innings, but also hit 16.

There’s no doubt Gore’s inconsistent past two seasons have taken a toll on his prospect stock. He is no longer a consensus among the top ten minor leaguers, nor has he reached the majors as quickly as he had seemed he would. Still, Gore turned just 23 in February and is just two years away from being perhaps the best pitcher in the minors. He’s certainly still a legitimate prospect, one Keith Law of the Athletic ranked No. 59 overall this offseason.

Law wrote that each of Gore’s fastballs, switches, and sliders are always plus pitches and he’s athletic enough to emerge as a top-end arm if he finds more mechanical consistency. BA placed the southpaw fourth in the San Diego system this winter, praising his high-octane repertoire and noting that his “set misses were much smaller” at the end of last year than they expected. had been at the start of this season. Gore has made just one appearance so far this year, but he hasn’t delivered a free pass in five scoreless innings with Triple-A El Paso last week, whipping up seven of 16 batters. he faced.

Gore is already on the 40-man roster, so a Snell IL placement would be enough to accommodate his call. We have to see how long he would stay in the rotation, but Acee writes that Snell and the right-hander Mike Clevinger should require two rehab starts in the minor leagues before returning to the majors. The team announced last night that Clevinger, who missed all of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery and opened on the IL this year due to right knee pain, will make his first start in rehab today with High-A Lake Elsinore.

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