The MLB pipeline released their end of season prospect rankings and Nate Pearson of the Blue Jays has made another big move up, now ranking at #10.
It’s been a great season for the development of the future of the Blue Jays, and not all of the highlights have been in the big leagues.
In a season when we’ve endlessly read about and analyzed the play of budding stars like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio and more, there’s a solid argument that the best performance of the year throughout the organization came from a minor league pitcher.
After missing almost all of the 2018 season because of a broken arm sustained on a comebacker in his first start last year, Nate Pearson absolutely dominated wherever he pitched in 2019. As a result, he’s now moved his way up into the top 10 on the MLB Pipeline’s top 100 list, coming in at #10. He’s joined by Jordan Groshans as the only two Blue Jays on the list, but that could change by the time the first update comes around next season.
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Pearson started his season in High-A with the Dunedin Blue Jays, and posted a 0.86 ERA and a 0.619 WHIP in six starts, whiffing 35 batters again just three walks in 21 innings pitched. After looking like a man among boys, he quickly moved up to Double-A where his dominance continued, putting up a 2.59 ERA and a 0.989 WHIP over 16 starts. His performance warranted one more promotion, and he looked more than solid in Triple-A as well, pitching to a 3.00 ERA and a 0.833 WHIP in three starts and 18 innings.
Because he entered the season with just 21.2 professional innings under his belt, this season was as much about building up his arm strength as anything. That factor will remain for Pearson next season, which is probably the biggest factor working against him having a real chance to break camp with the Blue Jays last year. This season he threw 101.2 frames, and hopefully he can push it up in the 130-140 inning level next season. However, the best way to keep that number under control will be to let him start the season in Buffalo.
That said, if Pearson’s strong performance continues then the Blue Jays will have no choice but to call him, something the fan base should expect to happen sometime during the 2020 season. If I were to venture a guess, I would predict that he makes his debut sometime in June, giving him a chance to ease his way into the campaign, and also giving the Blue Jays the chance to earn another year of contract control for their top pitching prospect.
Now that he’s in the top 10 among MLB prospects (and 3rd among pitchers), the Blue Jays have had a top 10 prospect for four seasons in a row. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was among the group in 2017 and 2018, Bo Bichette started the year there before making his way to the big leagues, and Pearson will enter the 2020 among the best prospects in the game.