After making polished college shortstop Logan Warmoth their first selection in the 2017 MLB draft, the Blue Jays picked six-foot six, 240 pound righty Nate Pearson two slots later out of Junior College of Central Florida.
Pearson was ranked 13th by Baseball America, 28th by Keith Law, and 35th by MLB Pipeline. Some of that volatility has to do with the fact that he got a screw put in his elbow in high school, but he’s been healthy throughout college.
So why does BA love him? That’d be the 100 MPH+ fastball that made his pre-draft bullpen sessions legendary. Pearson has the most explosive heater in the draft class and can locate it well. They also feel that he has a changeup that “projects as a plus pitch.”
Here are his scouting grades per MLB Pipeline:
Fastball: 70 | Slider: 50 | Curveball: 45 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 45 | Overall: 50
That’s right, that’s a 70 grade fastball on a 20-year-old.
The knock on Pearson is that his secondary stuff is virtually nonexistent. He tinkers with a curve, slider and change, but none are special. Per Keith Law:
“Pearson hit 101 mph in a workout for scouts on Memorial Day, but the breaking ball and changeup are still inconsistent, and he has a little ways to go to prove he’s a starter.”
He projects as a power relief arm, and if he can develop a slider he could crack the Jays’ bullpen quickly. If the Jays try to bring him up as a starter, scouts have compared him to Carl Pavano due to his size and the fastball/changeup combo. If they go the relief route, he could be a multi-inning impact arm like Raisel Iglesias.
Here’s video of the heater that will be keeping you warm tonight:
Lead Photo: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports