Having Nate Pearson on this list may or may not surprise people, but there's a different rationale for including him. It's because the Blue jays could had got more value from him at this point, with the gamble being that he will carry on improving or come crashing back down to earth.
In a lot of ways, this has been Pearson's best season yet in the Majors. It truly seemed he was finally starting to show what he was capable of, albeit as a reliever rather than a starter and potential staff ace.
This has been reflected to a certain extent by a 1.205 WHIP which -- while not fantastic, but still above average -- is projected to be the best of his three seasons in the Majors. In addition, the 26-year-old had nearly halved his walk-rate, down to 9.1 percent.
Also important was Pearson showing better durability, after previously contending with different injury issues. This year has seen new single-season highs for appearances and combined innings.
Unfortunately for everyone concerned, the 2017 first round draft pick has not been pitching as consistently well of late and now has a 5.31 ERA on the season. For context, consider that in his first 17 appearances he only once gave up two runs, resulting in an overall ERA of 1.96.
Since then however, Peterson started to show signs of struggling, culminating in allowing four earned runs in 0.1 innings, blowing a save opportunity and losing a game in Seattle. As a result he was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo to work on some adjustments, although Sportsnet's Jeff Blair did speculate he could be moved ahead of the trade deadline.
Instead, the righty was recalled towards the end of July and looked like he had figured things out, pitching two innings of no hits or earned runs. With the beauty of hindsight, this might have been the time to move him.
The reason being, because Pearson had another nightmare in his next outing versus the Orioles, giving up four earned runs in one inning and earning a ticket back to Buffalo. Obviously Blue Jays fans hope he can fix things and look more like he did earlier this year, otherwise the ballclub may regret not cashing in when they theoretically had the opportunity.