To the surprise of no one, you will find Nate Pearson atop very Toronto Blue Jays top prospect list you can google.
To be honest, even if Bo Bichette had not graduated to the minors, I had Pearson pencilled in as our top prospect by mid-July, such has been his body of work and upside.
The Blue Jays have been extra cautious with Pearson, whose 2018 debut was delayed by an oblique injury, and sidelined by a line drive off of his forearm in his second inning of work.
After limiting Pearson’s workload to alternating two and five inning stints this year, the wraps were taken off somewhat in July, and Pearson did not skip a beat, with his 7 innings of three-hit, shutout ball on August 20th for AAA Buffalo the crowning achievement of his season.
Pearson has always mixed an upper 90s fastball with a sharp slider from the same arm slot, but this year he has added improved control of that fastball along with a vastly improved change up. His curve remains more of a show me pitch at this point, but also flashes as a future average pitch. Combine those four pitches with his heat and a downward plane to go with them as a result of his 6″6″ stature, and you get a Pitcher who is extremely difficult to barrel up. His mechanics are not necessarily the most refined, but will likely improve with experience, and that velo buys him some margin for error.
In being named the top Eastern League prospect by Baseball America this year, Pearson answered a few questions about his durability and fastball command. The only real questions going forward will be his body and athleticism. Pearson has tremendous mound presence and an advanced feel for pitching, so it’s possible that he applies his work ethic to this area to improve his flexibility and overall conditioning.
Blue Jays fans anxious to see Pearson early in the 2020 season may want to consider going to Buffalo to catch him there, because he’s likely ticketed for AAA as the farm department continues to build his arm strength and monitor his innings. It may take him some time to get there, but Pearson has front-of-the-rotation stuff and makeup. With prospects like Guerrero, Biggio, Bichette, McGuire, and Jansen having graduated, Pearson will be at the forefront of the next wave of MLB hopefuls to come to Toronto.