A closer look at the rise and fall of former Blue Jays top prospect Nate Pearson

Taking a look at Nate Pearson's historical timeline with the Blue Jays and how he got to where he is today, and what we can expect from him in the future
Toronto Blue Jays v Detroit Tigers, Nate Pearson
Toronto Blue Jays v Detroit Tigers, Nate Pearson / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
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The long-awaited MLB debut and arrival of Nate Pearson

In 2020, with the COVID pandemic wiping out the entire minor league season, Pearson finally made his MLB debut with the Jays, as many of the Jays’ faithful had been anticipating for his arrival for quite some time. He certainly delivered what many were expecting as in his first start, he would go five strong scoreless innings, giving up only two hits, two walks while striking out five against the Washington Nationals. Despite the performance, Pearson would end up getting a no-decision as the Jays lost 4-0 in the end.

Unfortunately, following his impressive debut, things would begin to unravel in his following starts, as he constantly ran into trouble with command and hitters getting on base. Despite his struggles, the Jays somehow managed to earned him a no-decision in each of those starts, bailing him out with some much-needed offence in the process. However, Pearson ultimately lost his starting gig, along with suffering a minor elbow ailment in August, as the Jays traded for starting pitching depth at the trade deadline by acquiring both Robbie Ray and Taijuan Walker for the stretch run. Pearson would end up pitching just once more during the regular season, making a relief appearance near the end of the season, but somehow earning his first ever MLB win in the process.

But what actually was the highlight of Pearson’s 2020 season came in the playoffs when the Jays played the Tampa Bay Rays in the three-game Wild Card series. After starter Hyun Jin Ryu was knocked out of the game after just 1.2 innings, along with Ross Stripling after another 1.1 innings, it was show time for Pearson. He was called in from the bullpen and he ended up delivering his best performance of the season, striking out five of the six batters he faced in dominant fashion over two innings of work. Even though the Jays ended up losing the game and the series, many left with the impression that the Jays have their future ace in the making with that kind of performance by Pearson at the biggest stage of a do-or-die game in the playoffs.