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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 32: McKinley Moore

This mountain of a man is getting more and more traction in the White Sox system.

McKinley Moore’s first spring training has started out a little rough, with six earned runs in two-thirds of an inning.

McKinley Moore

Right-Handed Relief Pitcher
225 pounds
Age: 23
2019 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 67
2020 SSHP Top Prospect Ranking: 58
2021 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 58
SSS rank among all right-handed relief pitchers in the system: 2

With the name of McKinley, you would expect a mountain of a man, and at 6´6´´ and 225 pounds, that’s basically what Moore is. Born in Houston, he was a two-sport star at Keller H.S. (Keller, Texas) where he also served as a three-year tight end. He crossed state lines to pay college ball for the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, but massively struggled in his three years. In a career 43 appearances totaling 48 2⁄3 innings, he posted a 7.95 ERA and 2.22 WHIP by allowing 44 hits and a whopping 61 walks (23.9%) while striking out 47 (18.4%). He posted similar results for Green Bay Bullfrogs of the Northwoods League and Wareham Gatemen of the Cape Cod League.

Yet, drafting more on projection than results in the 14th round in 2019, the White Sox took a leap of faith and pried Moore away from the Trojans with a $100,000 signing bonus.

After two successful appearances with the AZL Sox to begin the 2019 season, in which he allowed just two hits while punching out five in three innings, Moore reverted somewhat to his previous struggles after a promotion to Great Falls. In 20 games for the Voyagers totaling 19 1⁄3 innings, he posted a 5.59 ERA and 1.97 WHIP by relinquishing 21 hits (.276 OBA), 17 walks (7.91%) and 27 strikeouts (12.57%). How much of this was reverting to old form vs. fatigue due to the the long season (college, Cape Cod League and professional ball) wasn’t easily determined. Moore was well-rested in 2020, however, as he didn’t pitch that year due to the pandemic.

Somewhat surprisingly, Moore began 2021 on the team’s Top 30 prospect list, a ranking again seemingly based more on potential than performance. After getting off to a rough start in his first five appearances with Kannapolis (8.44 ERA and 2.06 WHIP), Moore produced far better results. In fact, as of July 22 when he was promoted to Winston-Salem, his numbers had improved to a 4.37 ERA and 1.41 WHIP over 22 outings. In his 22 1⁄3 innings for the Cannon Ballers, he surrendered 18 hits (.209 OBA), 14 walks (13.9%) and 35 strikeouts (34.7%).

In his final 10 weeks of the year with Winston-Salem, Moore gave up a few more hits but limited his free passes considerably. In 18 games for the Dash totaling the same number of innings, he produced a 4.00 ERA and 1.44 WHIP by ceding 19 hits (.264 OBA) and just seven walks (8.8%) while striking out 24 (30.0%). In addition to his impressive strikeouts, Moore kept the ball down consistently at both Kannapolis (50.0%) and Winston-Salem (39.6%). Moore concluded his season with the Glendale Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League, and held his own in that hitting-friendly environment by generating a 4.22 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 10 2⁄3 innings by allowing 11 hits and five walks while inducing nine strikeouts.

Moore’s highest MLB Pipeline grade (65) is unsurprisingly given to his upper-90s heater, which tops around 98 mph. A mid-80s slider is given a good 55 grade. Like most lower-leverage relievers, he doesn’t possess a consistent third option. His control is unsurprisingly his weakest tool at 40, but as evidenced by his work at Winston-Salem, that phase of his game seems to be improving. Expect Moore to begin the 2022 season with Birmingham.

2022 South Side Sox Top 100 White Sox Prospects

32. McKinley Moore, RHRP
33. Emilio Vargas, RHSP
34. Blake Rutherford, LF
35. Anderson Severino, LHRP
36. DJ Gladney, 3B
37. Luke Shilling, RHRP
38. Chase Krogman, LF
39. Cristian Mena, RHSP
40. Benyamín Bailey, LF
41. Tyler Johnson, RHRP
42. Andrew Perez, LHRP
43. Tyler Neslony, LF
44. Theo Denlinger, RHRP
45. Hunter Schryver, LHRP
46. Jefferson Mendoza, C
47. Harvin Mendoza, 1B
48. Gil Luna Jr. LHRP
49. John Parke, LHSP
50. Victor Quezada, 3B
51. Haylen Green, LHRP
52. Sammy Peralta, LHRP
53. Yoelvin Silven, RHRP
54. Taylor Broadway, RHRP
55. Noah Owen, RHRP
56. Luis Curbelo, 3B
57. Bryce Bush, RF
58. James Beard, CF
59. Xavier Fernández, C
60. Wilber Sánchez, SS
61. Kohl Simas, RHRP
62. Johan Dominguez, RHSP
63. Jagger Rusconi, 2B
64. Ronaldo Guzman, LHSP
65. Laz Rivera, 3B
66. Adam Hackenberg, C
67. Will Kincanon, RHRP
68. Lane Ramsey, RHRP
69. Tommy Sommer, LHSP
70. Randel Mondesi, RF
71. Shawn Goosenberg, 2B
72. Zack Muckenhirn, LHRP
73. Cameron Butler, CF
74. Godwin Bennett, RF
75. Logan Glass, CF
76. Dario Borrero, 1B
77. Craig Dedelow, RF
78. Carlos Hinestroza, RHRP
79. Gunnar Troutwine, C
80. Kade Mechals, RHSP
81: Caberea Weaver, CF
82. Layant Tapia, SS
83. Homer Cruz, RHRP
84. Kaleb Roper, RHSP
85. Jerry Burke, RHSP
86. Emerson Talavera, RHRP
87. Isaiah Carranza, RHSP
88. Davis Martin, RHSP
89. Tyler Osik, 1B
90. Samil Polanco, 3B
91. Manuel Veloz, RHRP
92. Pauly Milto, RHRP
93. Fraser Ellard, LHRP
94. Colby Smelley, C
95. Manuel Guariman, C
96. Everhett Hazelwood, RHRP
97. Garrett Schoenle, LHRP
98. Kyle Kubat, LHRP
99. Anderson Comas, RF
100. Jake Elliott, RHRP