by Joseph Hartsock / A’s Farm Arizona Correspondent
The Arizona Fall League has now reached its halfway mark and last year’s 2nd-round draft pick for the A’s, right-hander Logan Shore, looks to be hitting his stride in the hitter-dominant league. Shore’s last start for the Mesa Solar Sox on Friday in Glendale versus the Desert Dogs was his strongest effort yet. And if not for a couple of mistakes, he might have ended up with a hitless outing.
In his first two starts in the AFL, Shore looked good – not superb, but good. In his latest outing though, he looked dominant and in control, even while facing a very strong Desert Dogs lineup. Shore was able to show strong command of his pitches and wound up walking away with a great outing as well as a win.
Over the first two innings, Shore was locating his pitches well. The batters looked off balance, swinging at pitches they couldn’t do much with, which resulted in lots of soft grounders and pop outs. The Desert Dogs didn’t have a batter reach base until the 3rd inning, when a well-placed inside fastball jammed catcher Will Smith who, nonetheless, managed to fist a broken-bat single to shallow center field.
Glendale’s first hard-hit ball came during the next at-bat, when second baseman Tyler Krieger hit a sharp line drive to right field. With runners on first and third and no outs, Shore went to work and was able to retire the next three batters in a row, with a shallow pop fly to left field, a swing-and-miss strikeout, and a weak infield grounder to end the inning and preserve the shutout.
Unfortunately, with one out and no one on in the 4th inning, Shore made a mistake to power-hitting first baseman Bobby Bradley. The pitch was a fastball up in the zone that caught too much of the plate. Bradley didn’t miss his pitch and pulled it for a home run to right field for the only run allowed by Shore. The 22-year-old quickly got the last two outs though to escape his fourth and final inning with a minimum amount of damage.
Shore worked his pitches well, throwing 53 pitches over four innings while surrendering just three hits without allowing a walk and striking out three. This was the first game that the right-hander started in the AFL in which fellow A’s prospect Sean Murphy didn’t start behind the plate. Washington Nationals prospect Taylor Gushue was the starting catching, while Murphy served as the designated hitter.
Shore spent last season pitching for the High-A Stockton Ports, and the competition in the Arizona Fall League is definitely superior to what he’s faced so far in his professional career. I liked the progress that Shore clearly made after his first two starts. In this outing, he had better command of his pitches and was able to keep the batters off balance, swinging at pitches they couldn’t hit hard. And the experience that he’s gaining in the Arizona Fall League could prove to be a great stepping stone for Shore in his professional career.
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