Logan Shore has what many Twins pitchers appear to be lacking — confidence and consistency.
The University of Florida righthander, by way of Coon Rapids, is expected to be the top pitching prospect selected from the state when the Major League Baseball draft is held Thursday through Saturday in Secaucus, N.J. The Twins select 15th in the first round.
“The draft is an imperfect system,” Shore said, noting the unpredictability of the process. In mock drafts over the past couple of months he has been projected anywhere from a middle first-round selection to a late second-round pick. “I’ve put myself in the best position possible, and now we’ll see what happens.”
Shore was selected in the 29th round by the Twins coming out of high school in 2013, and some scouts think he’d be a good fit for the Twins this year. The hometown club failed to meet his asking price in 2013, so he headed to Gainesville, Fla.
“The Twins were going to have to come up with a pretty decent amount of money,” Shore said. “I had an asking price, but I was drafted a little too late for what I was asking.”
That price was $1 million, which would now be a bargain for the Southeastern Conference pitcher of the year. Florida is one of 16 teams left in the NCAA baseball tournament and will face Florida State in a Super Regional this weekend.
“I feel like I followed the same path as high school, just on a bigger stage,’’ Shore said. “I was in the starting lineup both places as a freshman.”
In May, the 6-2, 215-pound Shore became only the second Gator in school history to be named the SEC pitcher of the year.
“It’s hard to put into words how big of an accomplishment that is,” Shore said. “To be considered one of the top pitchers in the SEC is pretty special.”
Shore is 11-0 on the season with a 2.44 ERA, and has won a school-record 16 consecutive decisions dating to May 14, 2015. He has 80 strikeouts and 15 walks in 92 ⅓ innings.
Consistency, Shore said, is “who I am, and why I’ve gotten to this point.”
Shore possesses a smooth delivery and consistent release point that gives him excellent control of all of his pitches — a two- and four-seam fastball, slider and changeup.
“He’s a low-maintenance pitcher, and ready to be a professional player,” Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “Logan knows what he needs to do in order to be successful.”
Shore is only the second pitcher under O’Sullivan to be the team’s No. 1 starter for three years. The other being Hudson Randall, who is in the Detroit Tigers system.
“The reality to recruiting is you don’t know what a player is going to do or how he’s going to react,” O’Sullivan said. “We don’t do a lot of recruiting outside of Florida, so when we do our instincts tell us he’s going to be an impact player.”
Shore has been just that for the Gators. His 29 career wins are two short of the school record.
“He’s not only performed at a high level, but he’s done it for three years,” O’Sullivan said. “He gets hitters out constantly.”
Shore does so with a major league-ready changeup. His slider has improved while his fastball is usually in the 90 to 92 mph range with a sinking motion.
“The idea is to win games, and that’s what he does,” O’Sullivan said. “No matter what level you play at the idea is to win championships. He’s a championship player.”
The biggest concern scouts have with Shore is the velocity of his fastball. He will periodically hit 94 mph. Teammate A.J. Puk, a 6-7 lefthander who throws in the high 90s, is expected to be selected before Shore and could be the No. 1 overall pick.
“So many people focus on velocity now,” O’Sullivan said. “Everybody gets caught up in the radar gun. Logan Shore is better than a radar gun.”