Baseball America Top 10 Blue Jays Prospects: No. 10, RHP Nate Pearson

 Eric Treuden
Minnesota Twins v Toronto Blue Jays
Minnesota Twins v Toronto Blue Jays / Cole Burston/GettyImages
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Baseball America's annual top prospects pieces are starting to be released, with the Toronto Blue Jays top-ten list already out (subscription required).

We're going to break down each of the top-ten players on this year's list. Starting with number ten, Nate Pearson.

RHP. 10. . Nate Pearson. . . 39.

Pearson is certainly not new to lists like this one.

Heading into 2020, he was ranked No. 1 on the Blue Jays prospect list before a string of injuries snuck up and slowed his development. While others on the 2020 prospect rankings like Anthony Kay, Alek Manoah and Alejandro Kirk graduated and made it to consistent playing time in the bigs, Pearson was held back.

Pearson did make it all the way to the big leagues in 2020 before going down with injuries, making five appearances (four starts) with a 6.00 ERA, striking out 16 and walking 13 in 18 innings. While he was able to make it to the majors, there was no regular playing time for him there in the immediate future.

In the 2021 preseason rankings, the 6'6" hurler found himself in the No. 2 spot behind only infield phenom Austin Martin, who was ultimately included in the José Berríos deal. This year was supposed to be a crucial one for Pearson but once again, various groin injuries and a sports hernia largely kept him out of action on the season.

The then-24-year-old Pearson spent more time in the majors in 2021 but was limited to a relief role, where he seemed to look a little bit stronger than he had the year before. In 12 appearances, he posted a 4.20 ERA in 15 innings, striking out 20 and walking 12.

Heading into the 2022 campaign, Pearson found himself labeled the No. 2 prospect in the Jays' system for the second consescutive season. Stop me if you've heard this before, but injuries (LAT strain) kept him out of the big leagues for the entire year and limited him to just 13 appearances as a reliever in the minors.

If there's any good to be found in the recent string of bad luck Pearson has encountered, it's the fact that he currently appears to be healthy. Now 26, he is wrapping up a brief stint for the Tigres del Licey in the Dominican Winter League and he looked utterly dominant.

In 12 innings out of the bullpen for Licey, Pearson did not allow a single run, striking out 16 batters and walking only four along the way. The low walk numbers are highly encouraging as he has struggled with the free pass throughout his big league tenure and will need to keep them down if he is to have any real success in the majors.

With his recent success in the minor leagues as a relief pitcher, it appears that the transition to the bullpen is complete for Pearson and the Jays. All signs point to him becoming a high-leverage late-inning option for the club in the immediate future. While this is a far cry from his former "No. 1 starter" potential, he has managed to settle into a new role of equal importance to the Jays' future.

As of right at this moment, we have a healthy Nate Pearson on our hands. There's a reason he's been such a highly-touted prospect in the recent past, so it will be interesting to see how he is able to contribute to the Blue Jays moving forward. Baseball-America seems high on him entering 2023 and frankly, you should be too.

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