Regardless of whether or not Nate Pearson cracks the Toronto Blue Jays opening-day roster, the highly-touted pitching prospect isn’t short on confidence.
“I definitely feel like I could get big-league hitters out right now,” Pearson said Tuesday during an appearance on Sportsnet 590 The Fan’s Writers Bloc. “It’s obviously not my place to say I should make the team or whatever because I don’t run all that stuff but I think I’m ready. I plan on proving that in triple-A when I start out and hopefully get to move pretty quick and hopefully be up in the big leagues and helping the team win some games.”
The 23-year-old is currently in Florida putting in work at camp and recently had an impressive five-inning outing against the Boston Red Sox in split-squad Grapefruit League game.
“Every day I come here I try to work on something new, work on something that I may struggle at or whatnot but each day there’s something to be done,” he said. “There’s always something to be better at.”
Pearson, the No. 8 prospect in baseball, said the attention he has received so far has “been cool” and isn’t taking it for granted.
“It’s a real true testament to my hard work and how I got here,” he said. “It’s been a little crazy of a ride to get here but I’m very blessed to be here and I’m thankful.”
The six-foot-six, 245-pounder is known primarily for his high velocity, which isn’t something he always possessed.
“When I was growing up in high school it wasn’t just always given to me [velocity] wise,” Pearson said. “I had to work on it, grow and mature, grow into my body a little bit so the [velocity] wasn’t always there. It’s only been my main focus for the past three years. That’s when I’ve been labelled a hard thrower. In high school, I wasn’t a hard thrower. There were guys on the scouting circuit that were throwing 95 and I was only throwing like 88, 89.”
Pearson explained the team is going to monitor his grip strength, shoulder mobility, velocity and spin rate among other metrics, as opposed to merely innings pitched, as they track his progression.
The hype surrounding Pearson is bound to garner plenty of attention – both positive and negative – from fans on social media, however Pearson explained why that won’t be a distraction during spring training.
“I gave up social media for Lent and it’s been actually very nice for me because after each outing, especially now, I know my social media’s probably going nuts, getting tagged in a bunch of stuff so it’s cool to have a break from that and actually just focus on the important stuff,” Pearson, a Catholic, added. “I’ll be back on it eventually but for now it’s a good break.”