Yesterday we noted that the University of Florida recruited lefty A.J. Puk out of high school in Iowa back in 2013. Puk wasn't the only cold-weather arm headed down to join the Gators that year: right-hander Logan Shore of Coon Rapids, Minnesota, was another Upper Midwest recruit.
Like Puk, Shore was well known to and respected by scouts but his strong college commitment knocked down his draft stock, in his case to the 29th round where he was drafted by the Minnesota Twins. He passed up his home state team and it looks like it was the right decision: Shore has been an outstanding college pitcher.
It should be noted that Shore, not Puk, is Florida's Friday night starter, the equivalent of a number one starter for a pro team.
Shore and Puk are quite different. Whereas Puk is tall and lean, Shore is shorter but well-built at 6-2, 210. Puk has gradually added polish to his game, while Shore was a refined pitcher from the very beginning. As a freshman he posted a 2.16 ERA in 15 starts with a 68/20 K/BB in 96 innings. As a sophomore he went 11-6, 2.72 in 19 starts with an 84/24 K/BB in 112 innings.
This season has been the best of all: 8-0 in 10 starts, 2.14 in 63 innings, 63/9 K/BB. The main sabermetric caution note in Shore's profile as a freshman and sophomore was a low strikeout rate, but the whiffs are up this year, at the same time he's lowered his already small walk rate.
Shore doesn't have Puk's velocity, working his fastball at 89-92 MPH with occasional peaks at 94. The fastball plays up because of the contrast with his excellent change-up, already a major league quality plus pitch. His slider, inconsistent in his first two seasons, has been better recently. All three pitches are located well within the strike zone, with a smooth delivery and consistent release points giving him sharp command of everything.
Shore projects as a number four starter rather than a Puk-like dominator, but Shore won't need much of a minor league apprenticeship and should beat his Gator teammate to the majors. The Twins pick 15th this year; Shore is generally seen as a late first-rounder. Will they draft him again? 15th for Shore is probably an overdraft but if the Twins want him, they'd have to take him there. Their next pick is at 56 and Shore won't be around by then.
Here's some clips from an early season start against the Miami Hurricanes, put together by Adam McInturff..