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Pipeline Q&A: Padres' MacKenzie Gore

MLB.com @JonathanMayo

PEORIA, Ariz. -- As part of MLB Pipeline's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities, we're sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Padres camp, it was San Diego's No. 2 prospect , MacKenzie Gore.

Gore was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 Draft, taken out of the North Carolina high school ranks. The 2017 Gatorade National Player of the Year had a brief, but spectacular, pro debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League, finishing with a 1.27 ERA, .184 batting average against and 34 strikeouts (vs. seven walks) in 21 1/3 innings.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- As part of MLB Pipeline's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities, we're sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Padres camp, it was San Diego's No. 2 prospect , MacKenzie Gore.

Gore was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 Draft, taken out of the North Carolina high school ranks. The 2017 Gatorade National Player of the Year had a brief, but spectacular, pro debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League, finishing with a 1.27 ERA, .184 batting average against and 34 strikeouts (vs. seven walks) in 21 1/3 innings.

Padres camp report

:: MLB Pipeline Spring Training reports ::

MLB Pipeline: This is your first Spring Training. How much were you chomping at the bit to get here and get started? How has it measured up to what you thought it would be like?

Gore: I was ready to get here and get to work. It's my first one, so there was a lot of anticipation. It's been good so far. This mini-camp helped me get my feet wet before everyone gets here.

MLB Pipeline: Is there anything you were focusing on in the early going here?

Gore: I'm focusing on a little bit of everything. It's still early in the breaking ball process in bullpens, so I'm just getting those better every day. I'm working on commanding everything and getting better every day.

MLB Pipeline: You didn't throw a lot, but you did make your pro debut last summer. What were your takeaways from that experience?

Gore: It was a solid start. I learned a lot, just being in pro ball and how to have a routine in between starts. I had some success and I faced some adversity at the end of the year, so that was good. I got a lot better in that short amount of time.

MLB Pipeline: Where are the areas where you think you improved the most?

Gore: The stuff kind of jumped. Then there were little things, like holding runners. The routine process got a lot better. I've never had to just pitch and have a week off in between. I learned what to do in between starts.

MLB Pipeline: Your big leg kick? How did that start, where did it come from?

Gore: I've just always had it. I was taught lift, turn and show my hip pocket to the catcher and it just kind of turned into a big leg kick. I didn't try to do it; it just kind of happened.

MLB Pipeline: How many times have people over the years tried to get you to change it? I'd think it's the kind of delivery that could make you get out of sync.

Gore: Not much. I've always tried to repeat it. That's always been a big thing, just repeating my delivery and it's stuck with me. I do get out of sync at times, but so does everybody. It's just natural for me. It just feels comfortable.

MLB Pipeline: What do you make of the comparisons to Clayton Kershaw that get thrown your way?

Gore: That stuff is cool and everything, but it's when you have to ignore the noise. I'm just going to try to be the best MacKenzie Gore I can be.

MLB Pipeline: What are your goals for the 2018 season? What would make it a good year?

Gore: First off is to learn something every day. It's my first full season and I'll be playing with older guys. I just want to go out there and win, wherever I am.

MLB Pipeline: The Padres have the best farm system in baseball. How much fun is it to look around and see all this talent?

Gore: It's a lot of fun and it brings some competition, which is good. Competition brings out the best in people. When you have a guy who's your teammate, but he's really good, it makes you work a little harder.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

San Diego Padres