Toronto Blue Jays News

Four Blue Jays named to Baseball Prospectus Top 101

Bevan Hamilton
Mar 13, 2021; Dunedin, Florida, USA; Toronto Blue Jays catcher Gabriel Moreno (70) runs to first base on a fielders choice during the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at TD Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 13, 2021; Dunedin, Florida, USA; Toronto Blue Jays catcher Gabriel Moreno (70) runs to first base on a fielders choice during the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at TD Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Blue Jays
Sep 5, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Nate Pearson (24) pitches against the Oakland Athletics at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports /

Baseball Prospectus released their 2022 top 101 prospects list on January 20 and four prominent Blue Jays’ prospects made the cut: catcher Gabriel Moreno, infielders Jordan Groshans and Orelvis Martinez, and long-acclaimed pitcher Nate Pearson.

The Blue Jays traded away two key prospects last year in Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson, certainly a high price to pay for Jose Berrios, but one that needed to be made nonetheless. Martin was MLB.com’s Number 22 overall prospect and the Blue Jays second overall, while Woods Richardson was Number 87 and the Jays’ number four. The trade dropped the Blue Jays overall farm rankings (via MLB.com) from Number 7 at the start of 2021 to Number 14 after the Trade Deadline. However, despite those departures – not seeing Martin in a Blue Jays jersey one day was especially hard to stomach – the club still has a lot of promising young players and a lot to look forward to. Don’t forget, this is already a good team and one that should compete for a playoff spot in 2022.

Much has been written about these guys this past year – I think the Twitter fanbase, in particular, fell in love with Moreno in 2021 – but let’s summarize the 2021 campaign of each player and look ahead to what 2022 may have in store.

Blue Jays
TORONTO, ON – SEPTEMBER 30: Nate Pearson #24 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches in the eighth inning of their MLB game against the New York Yankees at Rogers Centre on September 30, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

Number 73: Nate Pearson

Ah, Nate Pearson, the man a few years ago that was heralded as the Blue Jays’ “next Roy Halladay”.  Like many prospects before him, Pearson has seen his stock take a hit due to recurring injuries, both in the minors and at the major-league level. Once regarded as one of the most promising up-and-comers in baseball, Pearson now finds himself needing to have some luck on his side in order to keep his career on track.

Pearson was drafted in 2017 and has impressed with his arm strength and velocity. Lighting up a major-league radar gun with three digits is not easily done. In 33 career innings, Pearson has struck out 36 in 33 games, although he has also walked 25. In some ways, he reminded me of former Blue Jay Dustin McGowan, a guy who you really rooted for to be successful. McGowan had such potential with his pitches but certainly struggled in other areas as a starting pitcher. Ultimately, he did find some success as a reliever. Not all top prospects meet what is expected of them early in their career. There are too many variables.

The important thing to remember here is that Pearson has pitched less than 200 innings combined in the majors and minors. In November, the Florida native underwent sports hernia surgery and is expected to be ready for Spring Training to compete for a spot in the starting rotation. The injury is the latest setback for the 25-year-old, which have included a fractured ulna in his pitching arm a few years back. Fangraphs has projected Pearson to throw 99 innings in 2022 and regardless of results, that’s at least a step in the right direction. If Pearson just focuses on staying healthy, his pitches should speak for themselves. He’ll be fine.

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