MESA, Ariz. -- As part of MLBPipeline.com's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities, we'll be sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Athletics camp, it was No. 9 prospect Logan Shore, a 22-year-old right-hander. On a 2016 Florida Gators staff that may wind
MESA, Ariz. -- As part of MLBPipeline.com's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities, we'll be sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Athletics camp, it was No. 9 prospect Logan Shore, a 22-year-old right-hander.
On a 2016 Florida Gators staff that may wind up producing as many as five first-round picks, second-rounder Shore was the best pitcher. He went 12-1 with a 2.31 ERA in 18 starts, earning Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year accolades and becoming one of four finalists for the Golden Spikes Award. After signing for $1.5 million and pitching well in a brief pro debut, Shore is ticketed for high Class A in his first full season.
MLBPipeline.com: You're a Minnesota native and the Twins made a decent run at you after taking a 29th-round flier on you when you were coming out of high school in 2013. How close were you to signing with your home-state team?
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Shore: I was closer to signing with Cleveland when they called me in the third round. They kind of got up there close to what I was asking for. Looking back, going to the University of Florida was by far the best decision I've ever made. I'd do it all over again the same way. The life lessons I learned at school, being part of the University of Florida culture and atmosphere there, it was awesome. I learned structure. I learned about my body and taking care of myself. I matured more. It's an environment that breeds success.
• A's Spring Training report
MLBPipeline.com: I'm going to ask you to play scout. You pitched with a lot of very talented guys at Florida. Who's going to be the best big leaguer?
Shore: There are so many, so that's hard. I watched [Athletics left-hander] A.J. Puk the other day in camp and he struck out three big leaguers. He can throw 95-96 with a legit four-pitch mix. Watching [current Gators sophomore] Brady Singer on TV, his fastball is 95-97 with about two feet of sink, just crazy. He and [fellow sophomore] Jackson Kowar are going to be special. [Current Gators junior] Alex Faedo throws hard and has a really good slider. [White Sox right-hander] Dane Dunning is one of the best guys I've ever seen. Electric fastball, everybody talks about his slider and his changeup is one of the best I've ever seen. There's not a whole lot of depth to it, but it just stops.
MLBPipeline.com: All of those guys you just mentioned throw hard, while your fastball sits around 90 mph and is more notable for its sink than its velocity. Yet you outpitched all of them last year with the Gators. Do you feel like you get overlooked and do you get tired of being pegged as a crafty right-hander?
Shore: That's not my game. I don't throw hard. If I try to throw the ball by guys, I won't pitch well. It's all about knowing your game. Look at Kyle Hendricks with the Cubs. He throws strikes, mixes pitches, changes speeds. That's how I want to pitch. I'd love to throw 95, but learning to pitch to your strength is key.
MLBPipeline.com: Speaking of that, how do you evaluate your strengths and weaknesses?
Shore: My best pitch is being able to locate my fastball versus left-handers and right-handers. My out pitch definitely has been my changeup. I've been able to throw it in any count and use it as a contact pitch and as a swing-and-miss pitch. I'm really just working on developing my breaking ball, developing something I can throw away from right-handers. My fastball and changeup go down and in to right-handers. I like that hard slider I've had in instructional league and the start of Spring Training and minicamp. I think we've hit on something with a hard slider/cutter that gives me different look.
MLBPipeline.com: It looks like you and Puk will be teammates for a while. You spent three years together at Florida, went in the first two rounds of the Draft together last year before reuniting at short-season Vermont, and you figure to open 2017 at high Class A Stockton. Did you have an inkling the Athletics might draft both of you?
Shore: It was one of the coolest experiences I've even been a part of when A.J. and I got picked by Oakland. There had been talk that he might go 1-1. I only talked to the A's once, but [former Gators teammate] Richie [Martin] said he only talked to them once before they took him in the first round last year. I was extremely happy for A.J. and that we were able to be teammates again.
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter.