Left-handed starting pitcher MacKenzie Goreheadlines what is not only one of the most talented teams in Minor League Baseball, but also one of, if not, the youngest. Gore, 19, was the third overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. MLB.com rates him as the No. 1 left-handed pitching prospect in the game right now, and the second best prospect in San Diego’s system, just behind shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., who had a record-setting season in Fort Wayne a year ago. Gore is one of 11 players on the team who are currently teenagers. (Last year the average age for a player in the Midwest League was 21.)
“This will be similar to what we had last year,” said Anthony Contreras, the team’s third-year manager. “We have lots of guys with incredible talent, but for most, this will be their first full season of professional baseball. So like we saw last year, there will be growing pains, but 2017 also proved that if you trust in your routines, work hard, don’t get too high or too low, and act as a professional, things should work out well.”
The TinCaps are coming off an improbable trip to the Midwest League Championship Series. After having the worst record in the league in the first half of the season, Fort Wayne rallied to win the MWL’s Eastern Division title.
Including Gore, the TinCaps have a total of seven players who are currently ranked as “Top 30” Padres prospects (see list below). The roster also features 11 players who’ve previously spent time in Fort Wayne, such as outfielder Jack Suwinskiand infielder Reinaldo Ilarraza-regulars in last year’s lineup.
Fans will have their first chance for an up-close look of the 2018 TinCaps on Wednesday, April 4 (5-8 pm) for Meet the Team Night at Parkview Field. Fans can watch the team practice and afterward players and coaches will sign autographs on the ballpark’s concourse.
The TinCaps begin their 2018 season on the road Thursday, April 5 (6:30 pm), against the Lake County Captains (Cleveland Indians). Fort Wayne opens up Parkview Field’s 10th season on Saturday, April 7 (6:05 pm), versus Lake County, with postgame fireworks presented by Parkview Health. The first 2,000 fans will also receive a free team lunch box courtesy of Parkview Health and magnet schedules from Freschetta. Tickets are available online at TinCapsTickets.com, by calling 260-482-6400, and at the Parkview Field Ticket Office.
MLB.com’s Top 30 Padres Prospects on 2018 TinCaps Opening Day Roster (7)