Prior to the 2016 draft, scouting reports portrayed Logan Shore as a righthander with pedestrian ability and extraordinary performance. At the college level, his intensity and smarts made up for his mundane pitch quality.
As Shore began his first full professional season, it did not look that way anymore.
The Coon Rapids, Minn., native had surprised the Athletics with his ability. And he surprised himself with something else: His velocity jumped since he signed as a 2016 second-round pick out of Florida.
In the Southeastern Conference, Shore typically sat in the high 80s and occasionally touched 90 mph. This year he was pitching at 92 mph and has hit 95 at high Class A Stockton.
“If I knew why, I’d have everybody doing it,” joked pitching coordinator Gil Patterson. He suspects the reason might be that the A’s insisted Shore take two months off from throwing to completely rest his arm. That rest may have allowed him to reenergize.
Shore, 22, guesses that the reason may be that he engaged in intense offseason conditioning during his break from throwing.
“This is by far the best shape I’ve ever been in. It’s the leanest I’ve been as far as body fat,” said Shore, who is 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds. “I think it’s just a natural process instead of doing something to force up velocity.”
Patterson has been most impressed by Shore’s stuff.
“He has an above-average major league fastball and changeup right now,” he said. “His fastball has late movement, and he commands it extraordinarily well. The next step is finding a breaking ball to fill out his repertoire. He is trying a slider, but there remains work to be done.
“He’s an awesome, intelligent young man with a tremendous work ethic,” Patterson said. “Our coaches can’t say enough about him as far as his preparation.”
Part of that preparation has been asking questions. Lots of questions.
“I love picking people’s brains,” Shore said. “The biggest thing for me is learning how to set up a hitter, how to attack a hitter.”
He is learning much, and he is learning fast.
— Casey Tefertiller is a writer based in Oakland