All Aboard the Big Nate Hype Train?

Pearson
Clutchlings Photo

RHP Nate Pearson, the second of two first round picks the Blue Jays had last June, has had quite the week:

 

 

To top it off, after only 8 short season outings, Pearson cracked Baseball America‘s prestigious Top 100 prospects list, checking in at 91.

Is all this to believed?  Are we looking at a top of the rotation arm?

As someone who saw Pearson a couple of times this season, my response to that question is that while the future looks bright, and he “makes hitters uncomfortable,” in the words of BA earlier this fall, well…..let’s pump the brakes a little bit. Just a bit.

The Blue Jays purposely limited Pearson’s work this summer.  A quick look at the number of batters he faced each outing:

7/18 – 4

7/23 – 7

7/29 – 7

8/7 – 8

8/13 – 9

8/18 – 9

8/24 – 13

8/30 – 14

9/6 – 19

9/11 – 17

In those short bursts, Pearson could let it all hang out, and it’s not surprising that he hit 100 numerous times, and sat 96-97.  His velo was no match for Northwest League hitters – he didn’t allow a run until that end of August start.  Heck, he didn’t even allow a runner past 2nd prior to that outing.

Pearson’s fastball command is unquestioned; it’s his secondaries that still need developing.  His change is described as an average pitch with late fade, while his slider has late tilt, but he had his troubles throwing it for strikes.  Pearson’s curve is behind his other pitches at the moment.

But it’s that fastball that buys him room for now.  Pearson can get swings and misses with it up in the zone, or weak contact on it down.  An imposing presence on the mound, Pearson gets late life on his fastball from his long extension, as well as a steep downward angle on it.

In 2018, when he will be stretched out as a starter (most likely at Dunedin), Pearson’s fastball will likely tick down a notch.  It will still be a premium offering, but the onus will be on him to further grow those secondaries.

There’s a lot to be excited about when it comes to Pearson, but he’s still developing as a Pitcher.

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