The Blue Jays are fortunate enough to have several prospects dominating in MiLB ball right now, and Nate Pearson may be at or near the top of the list.
For a pitcher who had thrown only 1.2 innings the previous season and barely 20 minor league innings, there was a ton of hype surrounding Nate Pearson heading into the season.
After breaking his forearm early in 2018, Pearson was able to return in time to pitch during the Arizona Fall League, a showcase league with baseball’s top prospects, and that’s where the hype train took off. Despite an inflated ERA, he was getting swings and misses and firing missiles from the mound reaching up to 104 mph, leading to the starting gig for the West in the AFL All-Star Game.
But as the 2019 season lengthens, the hype around Pearson continues to grow as his early numbers look like “Road To The Show” stats from an MLB video game.
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Through 19 innings in Dunedin, he has allowed just two runs, ten hits, and is limiting opponents to a .152 average. Most impressively, he has struck out 30 batters and walked just two, leading to a WHIP of 0.63.
The big right-hander entered the season as our # 5 prospect in the Blue Jays organization and # 4 in the organization according to MLB Pipeline, so this recent run of success is not unexpected, although it would have been difficult for anyone to predict a potential promotion by early May to Double-A New Hampshire.
Thursday night he was back at it again with Dunedin, going five innings to secure the win while allowing no runs, two hits, one walk and racking up ten strikeouts.
If he continues at this pace it won’t be long before a promotion comes his way and he could be a candidate to fly up the prospect boards as the season carries on and players lose their prospect status. The 2017 first-rounder is already the highest-rated pitching prospect in the Blue Jays system and as he carries on through the ranks, he is a name that fans should begin to get excited about.
Because what could be more exciting for baseball fans in Toronto than seeing Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Pearson, a pitcher with Aroldis Chapman and Jordan Hicks type velocity, in the same lineup Opening Day somewhere down the road?
It’s not just his fastball that he relies on while staring down opponents, he also has an above-average slider in the high 80’s and he comes with a big presence on the mound.
Listed at 6-foot-6 and 245-pounds, Pearson uses every bit of that to his advantage with a downhill plane and really gets on top of hitters with his heavy stuff. MLB Pipeline projects the 22-year-old as a potential front-of-the-rotation guy if healthy, likely meaning they buy into the development and progression of his curveball and changeup.
With more and more homegrown talent coming through the system with major league potential, fans are becoming more invested in minor league players and top prospects. Many fans already know of Pearson and the nasty stuff he could one day bring to the Jays, but many others don’t as he is still yet to pitch beyond A-ball.
If Pearson could carry on through the minors being half as good as he’s been so far, he has the potential to one day become a household name in the city of Toronto.
It seems it’s time to buy into what the scouts are saying… the Nate Pearson hype is real.