All MLB organizations are tight-lipped about the injury status of their minor league prospects, and the Blue Jays are no exception. But we have learned that after starting in an Extended game on Tuesday, RHP Nate Pearson, the second of the team’s two first round picks last June, will make his High A debut with Dunedin on Sunday.
Pearson dominated the Northwest League in a pitch count limited manner last summer. After a strong spring training, he appeared set to go with Dunedin (skipping Low A Lansing in the process), until he suffered an oblique injury before the season began.
Pearson rocketed up the draft boards of many teams in the fall of 2016 after topping 100 with his fastball at a Florida showcase. Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins has said that his ascent was so sudden that Pearson may have been a top five pick had the draft been held a month later. Sitting 96-98 with his fastball, Northwest League hitters had little chance against Pearson, and much of the contact he gave up was on his changeup. Pearson didn’t allow a runner past 2nd Base until his 6th start, and fanned 10 in 4 innings in a playoff game in his final start for Vancouver.
Pearson is listed on most rankings as the Blue Jays 4th best prospect. He cracked the prestigious Baseball America Top 100 this spring, checking in at 91. Pretty heady stuff for a guy who pitched 20 innings last year.
Two weeks ago, Blue Jays Director of Player Development Gil Kim had indicated to us two weeks ago that Pearson’s return was “undetermined.” With an oblique injury, they were understandably taking things slowly with their prized prospect.