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Top prospect LHP MacKenzie Gore to make MLB debut for Padres on Friday

The former No. 6 prospect in baseball will get his first shot in the big leagues with a start versus the Braves.

Los Angeles Angels v San Diego Padres Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It’s taken a little longer than perhaps some forecasted just a couple of years ago, but San Diego Padres left-handed pitching prospect MacKenzie Gore will make his MLB debut when he starts Friday’s game versus the World Series champion Atlanta Braves.

Padres manager Bob Melvin announced the move Thursday.

Gore was a top-10 prospect in baseball across the board entering the 2021 season, including a No. 6 ranking by MLB Pipeline. He possesses four pitches, including a mid-90s fastball and a changeup, slider and curveball, all of which are above-average. He seemed to be on the cusp of the Majors entering last year, but command and control have been Gore’s nemeses at times, and after walking 28 batters in 50.1 innings across four levels in the Minors, his outlook dimmed. He had an especially hard time in six starts at Triple-A El Paso: 20 innings, 13 earned runs, 12 walks and 18 strikeouts.

But Gore displayed improved pitch feel during Spring Training last month as he walked three men in 12 innings. He then followed that up with five shutout frames with no walks, only two hits and seven K’s in his season debut at Triple-A earlier this month.

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Gore will most likely replace injured lefty starter Blake Snell on the Padres’ active roster, but that move is not yet official. Snell was scratched shortly before his Sunday start against the D-backs because of left adductor tightness. He dealt with the same ailment last September and missed his final two scheduled starts of the season as a result.

Gore’s first pitch from San Diego’s Petco Park against the Braves is scheduled for 9:40 p.m. ET on Friday.