GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Perfect Game National Freshman of the Year, SEC Freshman of the Year, All-SEC First Team, SEC All-Freshman Team, Baseball America Freshman All-American, Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American, NCBWA Freshman All-American…let all of that sink in for a minute.
Ready? Okay, let’s go. Those were just some of the honors bestowed upon sophomore right-hander, Logan Shore, in recognition of arguably one of the more impressive freshman campaigns for a Florida pitcher in recent memory. When Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan tabbed Shore as the Friday night starter just prior to the commencement of conference play, the Coon Rapids, Minn. native never looked back, motoring down the stretch to the tune of a 2.16 ERA and 95 2/3 innings of work across 15 starts.
Most impressive of all, you may ask? That would be the fact that all but 5 of his starts came against SEC opponents, wherein he held conference rival bats to 15 earned runs across 65 innings, all the while registering all 7 of his victories in those respective starts – not to mention the fact that he never failed to turn in less than 5 innings of work per start.
To be quite honest, the most impressive aspect of his freshman campaign might actually be the fact that he stepped up and gave the Gators a definitive staff ace at a time when a visible uncertainty hung over the rotation (following the departure of Jonathon Crawford to professional ball, the questionable health and performance of Karsten Whitson, and the ability of Bobby Poyner to stick it out in a weekend rotation role). In doing so, Shore gave sustenance and a lessened sense of pressure to what would become a revolving door of a rotation, with of course a little help from one of the deepest bullpens in the country.
While he finished off the regular season in rather strong form, he was unable to replicate the brand of consistency he had touted throughout the 2014 season come time the postseason rolled into town. A loss in an opening round SEC Tournament game to Kentucky (Florida would go on to finish runner-up to eventual champion LSU) was followed suit by a loss to College of Charleston in the Gainesville Regional opener, as Shore surrendered three runs on 10 hits in that 3-2 losing effort.
Despite an unfavorable end to the 2014 season (and in all honesty, Shore performed relatively well in his final two starts – displaying solid command – but was outmatched by a pair of hungry teams in both LSU and College of Charleston), the Florida staff ace has looked stout throughout fall and spring practices and is not only ready to prove his worth as a selectee to the Preseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List, but more importantly lead this talented Florida squad back to Omaha for the first time since 2012.
Without further ado, the following is a brief scouting report of Logan Shore, examining his mechanics, command, pitch repertoire, and what to expect from the sophomore right-hander going forward.
Utilizing a three-quarter arm slot, Shore has a rather easy delivery and speedy release point. He has a strong, athletic frame (6-2, 215) and is an adept fielder, having had plenty of experience at third base and shortstop where he displayed a plus glove. Striking is his poised presence on the mound, wherein he knows how to manage a game and change the pace of play to his liking, as he displayed his ability to slow the game down and work his way out of jams on many occasions last season. He has the tools and natural poise to make it to a pro mound one day, as it should be exciting to see how he progresses in his second year after impressing to the extent that he did in 2014.
Coming out of high school, Shore was predominantly viewed as a two-pitch slinger, utilizing a four-seam/changeup combo with slider and curve options that while underdeveloped, had the potential to become solid secondary options. As you would have it, he has since developed those two aforementioned options quite nicely, particularly that of his slider which has become his go-to breaking ball option, while at the same time developing a two-seamer (both pitches having become great tools for keeping batters off balance). His command has improved nicely since high school and has been one of his defining qualities at Florida, wherein he can pound the strike zone with each of his respective offerings, particularly that of a four-seamer that he can paint up, down, and across the zone with impressive, relative ease.
Shore works with an impressive four-seam fastball (as well as a rather stout two-seam option) that primarily sits in the 89-93 mph range (he can reach back for an extra tick or two as needed), which he can locate up, down, and across the zone very well (the pitch is most effective down in the zone, as its slight sinking life can tie up hitters with the best of them). He can carry that low-90s velocity deep into his starts, which can be attributed to his reliance on his changeup option, perhaps one of his stronger secondary pitches as he can generate impressive movement on the pitch and helps him mix his pitches quite nicely. His curveball has slurvy tendencies and has good shape (very solid sweeping action), which he utilizes nicely as a swing-and-miss offering.
Since emerging as the staff ace of this Florida rotation last season, Shore has given the Gators the peace of mind going forward in knowing that he will be leading the way on the mound and providing a rather young staff (despite the fact that he is only a sophomore himself) with the type of poised leadership that will allow others to both admire and desire to emulate themselves. Look for Shore to commence what should figure to be a successful sophomore campaign this Friday evening, as the Gators kick off the 2015 season against URI at 7:00 pm at McKethan Stadium.