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Blue Jays 2019 Top Prospects: #5 – Nate Pearson

Soon after an personal injury-riddled 2018 season, an explosive Arizona Fall League stint has Nate Pearson close to the top of the Blue Jays farm process rankings. 

Identify: Nate Pearson
Place: P        Age: 22
Top: 6’6”       Pounds: 245 lb
Throws: Appropriate
Obtained: Selected in the 1st round of the 2017 Draft

With a season to neglect in the rearview mirror, Nate Pearson enters the 2019 campaign more robust and much healthier than ever.

Soon after lacking the majority of the 2018 MiLB season with a damaged ulna, Pearson confirmed off his upside in a quick stint at the Arizona Fall League. In spite of the lopsided numbers, which ought to be taken with a grain of salt, Pearson’s raw stuff was on total exhibit.

Sitting in the bottom fifty percent of most MLB prospect rankings lists, what a dropped season failed to show is that Pearson has one particular of the larger ceilings across any slight league pitching prospect. Rumoured to be a likely 1-1 variety in the 2017 Draft, Pearson slid into the Jays laps after there ended up inquiries concerning his signability.

Now, Pearson is one particular of the game’s breakout candidates.

With a long lasting frame, excellent athleticism on the mound for his dimension, an electric powered fastball, underrated secondary stuff, and lauded get the job done ethic, Pearson can very rapidly skyrocket up numerous prospect rankings lists.

Fastball

On raw stuff by itself, outdoors of it’s possible Forrest Whitley of the Houston Astros, there might not be a one improved pitching prospect in the slight leagues.

The arm motion is swift and loose and the ball explodes out of a superior-3/4 slot. Possessing an 80-quality fastball, which touched 104 mph in the Arizona Fall League, Pearson sits in the superior 90’s and can continuously hit triple digits. Moreover, he also has the frame and toughness to retain his velocity deep into commences.

It wasn’t evident by his 5.8 BB/9 in the AFL, but Pearson has equally the athleticism and the physique

command to uncover accomplishment commanding his explosive fastball in the future.

Pearson also expended time more than the offseason working more than at Driveline, where the principal emphasis was put on pitch structure and tunneling.

Tunneling has come to be a very well-known subject matter of dialogue in today’s recreation. The principle is essentially this: get two distinctive pitches, say a fastball and a slider, and attempt to structure the pitches in a way that they fly down the similar trajectory or “tunnel” extensive sufficient to look nearly equivalent in a hitter’s eye just before splitting off into distinctive directions as the pitches get nearer to the plate.

Breaking Ball 

Coming out of junior college, Pearson was predominantly a two-pitch pitcher, surviving on his superior-powered fastball and a tight slider.

In 2017, when promoted to Low-A, Pearson increased his slider utilization, which authorized him to rack up a K/9 of 11.4, albeit in 19 innings of get the job done. The slider sits in the upper 80’s with late tilt and seems to be an previously mentioned common pitch on the next amount and one particular that will induce plenty swing-and-skip.

He has also started to incorporate a slower curveball, which has extra vertical depth and is a stable offering that can throw off the timing of opposing hitters. At this time, the pitch seems to be common at very best, but Pearson is able to replicate the similar arm motion and the pitch generates a excellent volume of whiffs.

Changeup and Command

With the volume of interest that Pearson’s 104 mph fastball garners, what will become overlooked is his over-all pitching arsenal.

His AFL functionality drop a light on the pitch mix that Pearson definitely gives. He introduced a curveball and used his changeup extra as effectively. Extra importantly, all four of the pitches in his arsenal shown excellent separation in terms of velocity and Pearson confirmed assurance in throwing each individual pitch.

It is vital to keep in intellect that Pearson hardly threw in 2018, which was a contributing factor for his rust and questionable AFL command. In 2017, he walked only 5 batters in contrast to hanging out 26 across 20 innings. In his lone year at Central Florida JC, he experienced a 5:1 K/BB rate, which irrespective of scattering 23 walks across 81 innings, is a purpose for optimism.

Long run Benefit

There is however associated chance to prospects like Nate Pearson.

Although prospects these kinds of as Chris Paddack (San Diego Padres) and Mike Soroka (Atlanta Braves) might be safer bets on the next amount, Pearson might have the larger ceiling. That currently being mentioned, I do think Soroka will be a very excellent starter on the MLB amount and Paddack even has ace-like likely, but on raw stuff by itself, Pearson trumps most arms in the minors.

With an electric powered fastball, a long lasting frame and secondary stuff that is coming together properly, Pearson has the likely to come to be a top-of-the-rotation starter on the next amount and at the very minimum, if his curveball and changeup do not create in accordance to plan, Pearson can be a very important bullpen arm that guns a million mph on his fastball and pairs it with a sharp, electric power slider.

Comparison

In terms of over-all mechanics, Pearson seems like a thicker version of Justin Verlander on the mound.

The Astros ace stands at 6’5” and is very identical in his load, the way he will get excellent hip-to-shoulder separation, and acceleration toward the mound. The arm motion in the back again is also pretty identical in equally pitchers.

Future: Blue Jays 2019 Major Potential clients: #6 Kevin Smith

Irrespective of whether Pearson can replicate the similar amount of functionality as Verlander is however to be determined, but nevertheless, Pearson is a very fascinating, superior-upside arm who appears to be on speed for a breakout season.

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