Blue Jays’ top prospect Nate Pearson and his triple-digit fastball blitzed through three minor league levels in 2019, but Pearson is likely to begin the season in Triple-A, writes Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. The 23-year-old only briefly reached Triple-A Buffalo at season’s end in ’19, and while his overall 2.30 ERA, 10.5 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and 0.7 HR/9 marks are impressive, Pearson acknowledges that he may have to wait a bit for his MLB debut. “Obviously, I want to break with the team out of spring training,” he tells Davidi. “The odds are that may not happen. I’m expecting to go out to triple-A and put up some good numbers and hopefully get a call-up sometime next year.” As Davidi explores, Pearson was on an interestingly structured workload limit in 2019 and will likely have his innings monitored again in 2020 after logging 101 frames a year ago.
More from the division…
- The Orioles, as currently constructed, will head into the season with plenty of questions around the infield, writes Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Rio Ruiz didn’t seize the opportunity in 2019, and while prospect Ryan Mountcastle should debut at some point next summer, there’ve been plenty of questions regarding his ultimate position on the diamond. Hanser Alberto has experience there but figures to factor in more prominently at second base. Non-roster invitee Dilson Herrera will get a look at the hot corner, but he’s not even a lock to make the club — let alone to log regular innings anywhere. There’s ample room to add a veteran option if they see fit — Matt Duffy, Logan Forsythe, Brock Holt and others remain available — and the O’s did pick up a veteran option at shortstop in Jose Iglesias. But free-agent spending has been negligible during the early stages of Baltimore’s rebuild, so it shouldn’t be assumed that any sort of move is on the horizon.
- The Rays could use openers much less frequently than in recent seasons, per MLB.com’s Juan Toribio. With Charlie Morton, Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow, Yonny Chirinos and Ryan Yarbrough fronting a deep group of pitchers, there’s less urgency for manager Kevin Cash to get creative at the beginning of games. Beyond that quintet, two-way player Brendan McKay could be in line for some starts as well, although Toribio notes it’s possible he returns to Triple-A Durham to start the season.
- Michael Chavis logged starts at first, second, and third base as a rookie for the Red Sox in 2019. He’s preparing for more of the same in 2020, with some outfield time also potentially on the table, he tells Chris Cotillo of MassLive. That versatility should come in handy for the Sox, who face particularly uncertain mixes at first and second base. There are myriad low-cost options available in free agency who could be brought in as insurance, but no slam dunk everyday players remain on the open market at those positions. Chavis hit .254/.322/.444 (96 wRC+) with 18 home runs in a decent debut season.