The Blue Jays No. 1 Overall Prospect according to our Rankings, Nate Pearson. You can read about Howard, and the rest of the Blue Jays Top 20 Prospects with grades, FV, ETA, and analysis on each prospect!
The 2019 wave of Blue Jay talent had 5 of their current starting 9 graduate from their Top 30 Prospect List. All but 1 made their MLB debuts in 2018 or 2019. Nate Pearson, the teams No.1 prospect and a top 10 prospect in all of baseball, made his MLB debut on July 29th vs the Washington Nationals. He then made his 2nd start vs the Atlanta Braves on August 6th. With this being the first-time pitch data is available for Pearson, here’s my first impression on Nate Pearson.
In 2 starts: Pearson has gone 0-0 with 2.70 ERA in 10 IP, 10 K, 5 BB 4 H. 0.90 WHIP, 3.80 FIP
|Pitch:||Number (%)||CSW%||Avg Velo||Max Velo||Spin Rate|
|4-Seam Fastball||80 (51.9%)||29.3%||95.8mph||99.2mph||2362|
Pearson has shown good command in the past, a 2.8BB/9 in 2019, and an overall ability to attack hitters. In his first starts his command has been shaky, a 4.5BB/9, while constantly missing up the zone with his FB and his velocity has been up and down. Reaching 99 but also being as low as 92. There may be some mechanical issues with Pearson delivery, most likely his body is out in front of his arm, causing the misses up in the zone and the shifts in velocity.
Pearson’s best pitch, a potential 80 grade FB, has been exactly what you would expect. A truly elite pitch, at times. Players are only hitter .111 off the FB. Pearson’s command hasn’t been good, and neither has the velocity, a mechanical issue has forced Pearson to have to fight himself and battle vs his stuff. It’s a great sign that the only person that can stop Pearson is himself. Pearson has shown the ability to spin the ball, with the FB spin around 2300rpm, which then leads to impressive vMOV around 11.4 inches and decent hMOV around 6.5 inches, similar profile to Jacob DeGrom.
Pearson primarily used 2 pitches, the second being his SL. An extremely impressive 42.3 Whiff% and a .154BA. Pearson showed confidence throwing this pitch in any count but has struggled to keep the pitch down in the zone, a couple hanging SL have been hit hard. The spin rate and movement are top tier, around 2600 RPM with 40 inches of vMOV and 6.5 inches of hMOV. Pearson SL may well be just as good as his FB.
Pearson has strictly been a FB/SL pitcher to start his career but has thrown the occasional CH and CB. Both have been thrown mostly vs LHH as a different look. Both have interesting pitch data, the CH around 1840 RPM with 26.4 inches of vMOV and 12.5 of hMOV. The CB around 2400 RPM with 59.2 inches of vMOV and 9.8 inches of hMOV. Both pitches will have to be relied on more and more as each start passes.
Pearson gets good amounts of swing and miss but when he gets hit, it’s fairly hard. 88.2 exit velocity (48th percentile), 4.2 barrel%, and 41.7% hard-hit rate (29th percentile). He’s getting 37.5% ground balls, 25% fly balls, and 29.2% line drives, decent stats for a power pitcher. Pearson has been behind in a good amount of counts leading to more pitches in the zone, which then give the hitter a better chance to barrel something up. More strikes early should help bring the hard hit% down
Pearson has looked good in his first couple starts, but some command and velocity issues will need to be ironed out. He’s really only thrown 2 pitches and had success with both, more diversity should keep the hitter off balance more and generate some more soft contact. Pearson’s next 2 starts will come against the Marlins and the Orioles, a good opportunity to show how dominate he can be.
If you enjoyed this “First Impressions” check out the others we have available!