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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Struggles with injuries beset his promising career

As the 2021 season rolled around, that was when Pearson’s roller coaster career was beginning to set in motion. During Spring Training, Pearson would suffer a nagging abductor strain in his groin that would end up causing him to miss game action multiple times during the 2021 season. In the end, he would even require sports hernia surgery to rectify the issue prior to the start of the following season.

As a result, Pearson was limited to just 12 games with the Buffalo Bisons all year, along with just 12 relief appearances with the big league club as a September callup. There was no doubt that his nagging injury limited his consistency and effectiveness, as he went 1-1 with a 4.20 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, giving up 14 hits, seven earned runs, 12 walks and 20 strikeouts in just 15 innings pitched with the Jays.

In 2022, to his luck, the injury bug hit Pearson once again during Spring Training, but this time he caught a bout of mononucleosis, an energy-sapping illness that pretty much wiped out the first couple months of his season. His unfortunate luck would strike again later that summer as he would be shut down for another couple of months due to a lat injury.

As a result, he only appeared in 12 minor league games in total for all of 2022, which has certainly been a huge setback for Pearson, who once had already made his major league debut just two years prior. Nevertheless, he wound up with a 2-1 record, posting a respectable 3.52 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, striking out 19 in 15.1 innings of work despite the limited appearances.

With the injuries mounting from the past couple of years, along with the lack of innings built up as a result, the best course of action for the Jays was probably to utilize Pearson primarily as a reliever going forward to minimize any further health risks, along with maximizing his still hopeful potential. After all, there have been many baseball greats such as Andrew Miller, Eric Gagné, and even the legend Mariano Rivera that began their careers as starters but ended up becoming dominant superstars once converted into relievers. So there was still a chance for Pearson to salvage his once-promising career in the coming years.