The Toronto Blue Jays had two selections to make in the first round of the 2017 amateur draft after receiving a compensatory pick for losing Edwin Encarnacion to free agency. The Blue Jays brain trust opted for a fireballer with the late first round pick.
Baseball America’s final mock draft actually had the Blue Jays selecting Nate Pearson with their 1st pick (22nd overall). Instead, they ended up choosing SS Logan Warmouth with the 22nd pick but were then still able to select Pearson six picks later at 28th overall.
Pearson certainly fits the mold of pitchers drafted by the
Jays in recent years. With their 1st round pick in 2016, Toronto selected 6-7 225 lb pitcher T.J. Zeuch. Pearson is listed at an impressive 6-6 240 lb and boasts a fastball that can reach as high as 100 MPH.
Get to know Nate Pearson
Height/Weight: 6’6″, 240 lbs
Schools: Bishop McGlaughlin High School, Central Florida Junior College
Player Comparison: Justin Verlander
Pearson began his college career in 2016 at Florida International University where he was used mostly as a reliever and posted a 2.70 ERA over 19 games and 33.1 IP. After his freshman season at FIU, he transferred to Central Florida Junior College where he went back to being a starting pitcher and really began to catch the attention of MLB teams.
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During his one season at Central Florida, Pearson would start 13 games, with 81 IP, 118 K/23 BB, and post a stellar 1.56 ERA.
Like so many young pitchers, Pearson had to endure some health issues related to his arm, which was addressed back in high school when he had a screw inserted into his right elbow. Whatever arm problems Pearson dealt with in high school though, they definitely didn’t hold him back in his Junior year at Central Florida, where he was one of the more dominant pitchers in college baseball in 2017.