Last fall, the KC Royals called up minor-league outfielder Terrance Gore to be their pinch runner in the playoffs. Gore reminded many older observers of A’s pinch runner Herb Washington from the early 70’s: a specialty player who made the roster purely for his speed.
It was an apt comparison. The 23-year-old Gore had been playing in High A Wilmington when the Kansas City Royals brass called him up for the playoff drive last season. Gore is a career .242/.349/.276 hitter over his minor league career.
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Get that? KC Royals general manager Dayton Moore jumped a guy that couldn’t hit at High A to the majors last fall.
Of course, Terrance Gore might be the fastest guy in organized baseball. The 5’7″ 165 pound Gore (my exact size, by the way), has stolen 189 bases in his minor league career with only 19 caught stealing. That’s an outstanding 91% success rate.
To put Gore’s stolen base ability in perspective, all-time stolen base leader Rickey Henderson swiped 313 bases as a minor-league player—with an 81% success rate.
Terrance Gore was a weapon coming off the bench for the 2014 Kansas City Royals. In key game down the stretch, the KC Royals pulled off a two-run ninth-inning rally to take a 4-3 victory over the White Sox in September.
Overall, Terrance Gore stole five bases in 11 games for Kansas City last fall. He made only two plate appearances with one at bat (no hits) and one hit by pitch.
Despite poor numbers at High A Wilmington last season, Terrance Gore earned a promotion to AA Northwest Arkansas in 2015. And, lo and behold, the baserunning rabbit has done the one thing he has needed to do to turn himself into something more than a roster gadget: learn to hit.
This season, Gore has hit .291/.394/.316 for Northwest Arkansas for an OPS (on base plus slugging) of .710. While that line would hardly be impressive for most other prospects (Gore only has three extra base hits, all doubles), Terrance Gore only needs to get on base to be a viable player.
This season, Terrance Gore has drawn a walk on 12.7% of his plate appearances. Add that ability to beating out hits by keeping the ball on the ground, and Gore has close to a .400 on base percentage. Given Gore’s outfield range and his ability to steal bases, he’s suddenly become an interesting prospect.
Terrance Gore has already earned himself a place in KC Royals lore as one Kansas City’s base-running rabbits that propelled an improbable World Series run. If he continues to hit, he could find himself as a legitimate starter for the Kansas City Royals.