Nate Pearson, the Toronto Blue Jays’ top pitching prospect, was promoted to triple-A Buffalo Sunday after a sterling performance with double-A New Hampshire this season.
In 16 starts with the Fisher Cats, Pearson sported a 2.59 ERA with a 9.9 K/9 in 62.2 innings pitched, bouncing back from what was, essentially, a lost year in 2018 as he dealt with injuries.
The 22-year-old wouldn’t be able to pitch again until he returned during the 2018 Arizona Fall League (AFL) where he would begin his road to a triple-A promotion, according to the Blue Jays’ director of player development, Gil Kim.
“Nate identified that all the way back in the AFL the more consistent shape of his slider,” Kim said Monday on Sportsnet 590 The FAN’s Baseball Central. “In the AFL it might have blended a little bit cutter-ish at times in the 90s or upper 80s and he really wanted to work on decreasing the [velocity] a little bit and increasing the depth and we’ve seen that really become his go-to put-away pitch this season. And then on top of that, [with] his fastball command, he’s cut his walks a little bit and it’s allowed him to get ahead of hitters and use that slider more decisively.”
Tightening up his slider and gaining more control over his fireball heater has been something Pearson has worked diligently on all year and this promotion to the Bisons is just natural progress now, says Kim.
“With Nate, we’re very excited about his progress this whole year and coming off a year where he really didn’t get to pitch as much as he would’ve liked to with the injury in 2018,” said Kim. “When we looked at his workload throughout the season and how he had progressed with this slider development and also with his fastball command we felt that he was in a pretty good position to succeed and he was in a pretty good rhythm and we felt like it would be good to give him a taste of triple-A.
“And, really, Nate’s been the one who has been driving this himself and has been very committed to his work. It started all the way back in January and Nate’s been a great example of a guy who takes ownership of his career. He puts the effort into his workouts – his off-season workouts, his in-season routines – and we’re excited and we feel good about this being where he needs to be right now in the development process.”
And given his natural work ethic, all Kim and the Blue Jays can hope from Pearson is he continues to improve at triple-A.
“Continue to be the same Nate Pearson,” said Kim when asked what the Blue Jays are looking from him in Buffalo. “It’s a different level, there’s a new ball, but he’s still on a mound 60 feet, six inches away from the plate and the reasons why we’re excited about Nate is because he has the kind of make-up and mentality that will continue to be him and know his strengths and not let that new environment change him.”
You can listen to Kim’s entire appearance on Baseball Central in the radio player above where, among other topics he also discusses Blue Jays No. 2 pitching prospect Alek Manoah and other young arms within the system.