Toronto Blue Jays: Top Starting Pitching Debuts
7. Nate Pearson – July 29, 2020 – No Decision – 5IP | 2H | 0 ER | 2BB | 5K
The most hyped pitching prospect in recent Blue Jays memory is that of former first round supplemental pick Nate Pearson. Pearson steamrolled through the minor league system as in his first stint in professional baseball he threw 20 innings, allowing just two runs while striking out 26 batters to five walks. In 2019, the year before his MLB debut he pitched at three different levels and posted a 2.30 ERA and 0.89 WHIP while tossing 101 innings and striking out 119, which only caused more excitement.
In his debut, Pearson went head-to-head with three-time Cy Young awarded winner Max Scherzer and the defending World Series Champions, Washington Nationals. Pearson was not intimidated and struck out Trea Turner to start the game on four pitches, and got out of the first inning with just a walked batter. In his second inning, the Nationals mustered two soft ground outs and a strikeout. After allowing a double to lead off the fourth inning, Pearson would retire six consecutive hitters to end his outing at five innings without allowing a run. Pearson would finish the game with a no decision as the Blue Jays would eventually lose in extra innings 4-0.
6. Trent Thornton – March 31, 2019 – No Decision – 5IP |2H | 0ER | 0BB | 8K
The only player not drafted by the Blue Jays on this list, Trent Thornton was acquired from the Houston Astros for Aledmys Diaz in the offseason leading into 2019. Thornton impressed Charlie Montoyo in Spring Training and he made the major league club to start the season. Thornton had a favourable start, as he drew the Detroit Tigers who would go on to finish the season 47-114.
Thornton allowed the first batter of the game, Jeimer Candelario to single on the second pitch he saw, however, the right-hander would go on to strike out the next three batters which started a stretch of retiring 11 straight. Niko Goodrum would break up the streak in the fourth inning with a single, which Thornton would respond by retiring seven of his next eight batters to leave the game without allowing a run. He allowed just two base runners, with neither reaching second base, and striking out eight batters, but was removed after 75 pitches. The Blue Jays would allow three runs in the seventh inning and after making a comeback lost in extra innings.