Nate Pearson entered the season as the Blue Jays’ top pitching prospect, and now that he’s healthy the rest of baseball is seeing just how talented he is.
The Blue Jays have been an exciting team to watch lately, and it’s been mostly due to the talented young players that have been contributing to the lineup. Guys like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Cavan Biggio and more make for exciting baseball, and the future looks very bright for the offence.
You don’t always hear the same about the pitching prospects in the Blue Jays system, but it appears at least one of their talented arms has caught the attention of the baseball world in 2019.
Nate Pearson has been widely regarded as the Blue Jays’ top pitching prospect since last season, but after he missed most of the 2018 campaign because of a broken arm (he was hit by a comebacker in his first start), he didn’t have a lot of time to prove his talent. He performed extremely well in the Arizona Fall League and was even an All-Star there, but it wasn’t until this season that people outside of the Blue Jays’ organization have come to a true appreciation for the ceiling of his talent.
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Pearson entered the season as the #70 prospect on Baseball America’s Top 100 list, which was impressive enough. However, now that we’ve been through roughly half of this season and Pearson has dominated in High-A and now Double-A, he’s made a pretty significant jump on that list, all the way up to #16.
That didn’t happen by accident, as the hard-throwing righty has been nearly untouchable for the majority of the season. It wasn’t long before they realized they had to promote him from High-A, but he still managed to post a 0.86 ERA and a 0.619 WHIP in 21 innings, striking out 35 hitters against just three walks.
He hasn’t been that ridiculously dominant in Double-A, but he’s still been more than impressive at the next level. He’s 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA, and a 0.900 WHIP across eight starts and 26.2 innings. He’s also continued the premium strikeout numbers, fanning 31 against just five walks.
The 22-year-old former 1st round pick has been an absolute force on the mound this season, touching 103 miles per hour on the radar gun, and intimidating hitters with a lot more professional experience than he has on his resume. However, talent matters a lot more than experience, and Pearson has that in spades.
I don’t think there’s any chance that we’ll see Pearson in the big leagues this year, but you could probably make an argument that he could be ready for a September call-up when the rosters expand. That said, with only 69.1 innings over the last two years, the Blue Jays are far more likely to take their time with their prized pitching asset and allow him to build up arm strength this year.
Despite players like Vlad Jr., Danny Jansen, and others losing their prospect eligibility, the Blue Jays still have a very strong minor league system, including some nice work done recently in the pitching department. There’s no doubt who tops the list of pitchers though, and hopefully he’ll continue to dominate and develop as he has so far. It looks like the Blue Jays could have a game-changer on their hands.