The recent success of Cincinnati Reds’ speed-burning prospect Billy Hamilton has given new life and respect to what players with his skill set can bring to the game. If utilized properly, speedsters can wreak havoc, not only on the base paths, but with potentially game-changing defensive range. It’s not easy for teams to find such players with enough skill to be quality major leaguers, but occasionally gems are unearthed. The Kansas City Royals believe they acquired such a prospect last year, when they drafted outfielder Terrance Gore, and so far he is doing nothing to refute their confidence.
The diminutive (5’7, 165 pound) right-handed Gore is a centerfielder who has showcased his speed since he started playing baseball at Jones County High School in Gray, Georgia. During his time with the Greyhounds he swiped an impressive 145 bases, and hit .474 as a senior, garnering widespread attention. He ultimately decided to attend Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City, Florida, where he continued his dominance on the base paths. During his lone season with Gulf Coast, Gore hit .330 with 51 steals (in 54 attempts), putting him squarely on the draft radar. The Royals swooped in and snatched up him up in the 20th round of the 2011 draft, and now hope he will work his way on to their big league roster.
Gore’s speed is literally off the charts. He has been clocked as fast as 3.7 seconds going from home to first base. To put that in perspective, a player who can reach the 3.9 mark is assessed an 80 grade for speed, the highest that exists on the scouting scale.
The Royals are taking things easy with Gore, as he is relatively inexperienced playing against higher levels of competition. He is currently playing with the Burlington Royals in the Rookie level Appalachian League, and acquitting himself very nicely, hitting .284 in 25 games with 14 steals. More information about his statistics is available here and you can follow him on Twitter here.
This past off-season I was able to track Gore down and had him open up a little about himself and his experiences in baseball.
Terrance Gore Interview:
Who were your favorite team and player when you were growing up, and why?: The Yankees and Derek. The reason I chose Jeter would be because he is competitive and loves the game. He is a veteran and everybody on his teams knows he is capable of getting the job done.
How did you know that the Royals were interested in you?: I knew the Royals were interested cause of my area scout; he told me that I reminded him of another Jarrod Dyson.
Can you describe what your draft day experience was like?: The draft days were crazy. During the draft I was at my computer and all I could do is wait on one phone call. Other pro teams would text me and tell me to wait, your time is coming. So, finally during the 15th round, I was headed to get something to drink and on my way my phone rang and I knew that it was a scout, but honestly I didn’t know from whom. After the Royals had called and offered me I was smiling from ear to ear because not only did I get drafted, but it was my birthday the same day. Best present I could have asked for.
How do you use your speed to impact a game?: My speed is God’s gift, coaches say, and I am blessed with it. I can say this much; when I get on base the whole game changes. The pitcher is worried about me and it helps out my team a lot because normally they are going to see nothing but fastball to give them a chance to throw me out.
What has been your favorite moment so far in your career?: I must say we were playing the Padres and we were tied in the 9th inning with 2 outs, guy on second. Then I was up and the count was full and I hit a line-drive to center to score the go-ahead run. We won that game by one. My manager (Kennedy) walked up to me and said, ‘Little Gore comes though big.’
Who has been your most influential manager or coach?: That’s a very easy question; everybody in the Royals’ organization, up to Scott Sharp, all the way to the clubby. They showed me how to play the game the right way; the Royals way.
Have you found it difficult to prove yourself to managers and coaches because you are not a big guy?: I honestly think I have. Coaches joke with me all the time with my size and they know it motivates me to show them I can do it. The first time I ran down that line I think I proved to them that I may be small but I have the heart to play the game and gain respect from any other team.
Run me through what a typical day’s schedule is like when you are on a road trip in the minors: On the road we wake up at 5:30, work out at 7, extra work at 7:40, and stretch at 8:40. We practice about 9, eat before the game around 10, get on the bus and head to the game. After the game we eat dinner and back to the club house, shower, then hotel.