SAN DIEGO -- Looking for baseball's elite left-handers of the future? Look no further than the San Diego farm system.MLB Pipeline unveiled its updated list of the game's best lefty pitching prospects on Tuesday night, and a pair of 18-year-old Padres farmhands rank among the top six. MacKenzie Gore, the
SAN DIEGO -- Looking for baseball's elite left-handers of the future? Look no further than the San Diego farm system.
MLB Pipeline unveiled its updated list of the game's best lefty pitching prospects on Tuesday night, and a pair of 18-year-old Padres farmhands rank among the top six. MacKenzie Gore, the club's first-round pick in last June's Draft, is rated as the game's best young southpaw, while Adrian Morejon checks in at No. 6.
Gore, selected No. 3 overall last summer, was one of the most highly touted high school arms coming out of the Draft. In his senior season at Whiteville High School in North Carolina, he posted an absurd 0.19 ERA and 158 strikeouts to just five walks.
He's since erased any doubt whether his dominance would translate to the professional level. In rookie ball, Gore posted a 1.27 ERA with a 0.97 WHIP.
Meanwhile, Morejon spent 2017 between two Padres Class A affiliates in Tri-City and Fort Wayne. As one of the youngest hurlers in both leagues, Morejon posted a 3.86 ERA with a 1.28 WHIP.
Perhaps more than anything, the combo of Gore and Morejon represents the Padres' recent success in the two avenues for acquiring amateur talent.
No team has had more early Draft picks than the Padres over the past two seasons. They put those selections to good use, acquiring righty Cal Quantrill and lefties Eric Lauer and Joey Lucchesi -- all of whom rank among the organization's top 10 prospects. Gore is the crown jewel of the bunch.
Morejon, meanwhile, was part of the club's unprecedented 2016-17 international signing class, in which Padres ownership committed north of $80 million, including taxes. (It's a commitment that likely won't ever be duplicated, given the new restrictions on international spending in the collective bargaining agreement.)
Morejon signed with the Padres in July 2016 for $11 million (while costing the organization another $11 million in penalties.) That investment could pay big dividends down the road. Morejon is ranked behind Oakland's A.J. Puk, the Yankees' Justus Sheffield, Atlanta's Luiz Gohara and Tampa Bay's Brendan McKay, who round out the top five lefty prospects. (McKay was drafted one pick behind Gore last June.)
MLB Pipeline will continue unveiling its top prospects by position over the next couple of weeks. With one of the Majors' deepest farm systems, it's a safe bet a few more Padres will rank among those lists.
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.