KANSAS CITY -- The little guy seems somehow out of place in a Major League clubhouse.
"He looks like he's 12 years old," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Yet Terrance Gore is 23 and, after a swift ascension in the Kansas City organization, he's part of the Royals' roster in the September chase for the playoffs.
By trade, he's a right-handed-hitting outfielder, listed at 5-7 and 159 pounds. But his role for KC is specialized: He'll be a pinch-runner and probably not anything else.
His credentials for that job are impeccable.
"I've had people tell me that he could possibly be the fastest guy in baseball," Yost said.
Gene Watson, the Royals' director of professional scouting, hears the same thing and what he's seen on his own is, well, eye-opening. Like Gore's speed down the line to first base.
"Three-point-seven [seconds]," Watson said. "He's off the charts."
The average speed from the batter's box to first is 4.3 seconds, Watson said. He clocked Gore regularly in the 3.8s recently in games at Reno.
Wow! Faster than the Royals' super-speedster-in-residence, Jarrod Dyson?
"Faster. That's what they say," Yost said. "All the scouts tell me he's faster down the line from the right side than Dyson is from the left."
Of course, as a pinch-runner, Gore will be running mostly from first base to second in stolen-base attempts. Is he accomplished at that as yet?
"He doesn't have to be with that speed," Yost said. "A lot of scouts feel that he can just flat outrun the ball. So he doesn't need to get great jumps, he just needs to get decent jumps."
Strategically, when Gore checked in on Tuesday, the Royals gave him a locker next to Dyson's. Who would win a race between the two?
"Ask the Lord," Dyson said, laughing, and added: "His confidence is just like mine."
Which means sky-high.
"The thing about Dyson is he's fearless," Yost said. "He's getting that base. He doesn't care if you're slide-stepping, he doesn't care if you're Johnny Bench behind the plate. He's getting it."
Gore went to high school in Gray, Ga., and to Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City, Fla. The Royals took him in the 20th round of the 2011 Draft. Since then, he's stolen 168 bases in 330 games and been thrown out just 17 times.
This year he played for Class A Advanced Wilmington, stealing 36 bases in 40 tries and looking like a nice weapon to have. With Dyson playing more outfield and having less time for pinch-running duty, it was decided to try Gore at a higher level and off he went to Triple-A Omaha.
"I just kept runnin' and runnin'," Gore said. "The coaches always told me, 'Just run.' That's all I do is just run and steal bases and look where I'm at now."
He swiped 11 bases in 15 tries for Omaha and, quite literally, was on a fast track to the Major Leagues.
Royals baserunning coach Rusty Kuntz has already taken charge of Gore.
"I do a lot of studying. I look at the slide-steps, loads, just everything," Gore said. "Rusty's going to help me out a lot. He already has, actually."
Gore made his Major League debut in the eighth inning of the Royals' 2-1 win over the Rangers. He ran for Mike Moustakas at second base but there was no steal attempt. Dyson failed to bunt him over, then grounded to the first baseman who threw out Gore trying for third.
Later in the inning, Dyson scored the deciding run.
Gore grew up playing football and basketball and really got into baseball when he hit college. Speed comes naturally.
"It runs in the family. My brother's fast, my cousins are fast, my niece is fast," he said.
But is he faster than Dyson?
"Who wins the race? There's no answer to that," Gore said. "We've never raced, we probably never will race. We're both fast, though."
Gore was assigned uniform No. 0. Zero?
"They gave me this number," he said. "I'm just glad to have a jersey on that says Kansas City Royals."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.