It’s never wise to get too excited over a few spring outings. But already hyped Blue Jays prospect Nate Pearson has been awfully impressive, racking up six strikeouts in three hitless innings while pumping triple-digit heat. Suppose he keeps this up?
Toronto GM Ross Atkins faced the question today: is there any chance that Pearson shows so much that he cracks the Opening Day roster? As Arden Zwelling of the Sportsnet.ca tweets, Atkins didn’t exactly offer a direct answer to that question … though his words certainly suggested that the club is not likely to deviate from its pre-spring plan.
Per Atkins, the Jays “are entirely focused on [Pearson’s] development. And a big part of his development is ensuring he has ever chance to increase that workload in a logical and smart way.”
That’s a nod to the fact that Pearson, one of the game’s very best pitching prospects, has still not thrown more than 101 2/3 innings in a professional campaign owing to an injury-busted 2018 season. And he only made it to Triple-A for three starts.
The Atkins comment may be oblique, but it seems there’s only one reasonable interpretation. If Pearson still requires “development” and a planned-out workload expansion, he’s not going to be considered for an Opening Day gig. As Zwelling wrote recently, the original plan was for Pearson to open at Triple-A. Nothing about what Atkins said today suggests any other outcome.
We have seen teams take differing approaches to situations such as this. Quite a few organizations have declined to change their plans even after watching a breakout Spring Training from a top prospect, resisting the allure in favor of service-time and other considerations. See, e.g., the Cubs and Kris Bryant. But that’s not an inevitable outcome. Last season, the Padres decided to carry Fernando Tatis Jr. north out of camp. Seven years ago, the dearly departed Jose Fernandez forced the Marlins’ hands.
In this case, fans that pine for a bold decision from the Blue Jays front office are almost certain to be disappointed — at least in the short run. The Jays did make some long-awaited rotation additions over the winter, so it’s not as if there’s a glaring hole in the staff at the moment. If circumstances warrant, it stands to reason that Pearson could push into the MLB picture later this year. In the meantime, Toronto fans will have to hope that the patience pays off — all while enjoying some of the other intriguing young players on the roster.
too many SP on the 40 man for him to start in the rotation
You’d let Trent Thornton block him? Thornton has all his options still too.
A contending team makes Pearson a RP and plays him on Opening Day. Shame the Jays aren’t even trying this year.
No one is expecting Toronto to contend this year guy
No one expects the Spanish Inquisition either.
Amongst our weaponry are such diverse elements as fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope, and nice red uniforms!
I expected it.
Are you saying making him a relief pitcher on opening day or did you mean SP?
They just signed Ryu to a large high risk contract with eyes on the short term, among other moves such as Shaw and Roark. Tell me how that’s not trying..?
i would add him over Thornton, but im not the Jays front office.
Though, as it stands, i doubt Thornton even starts in the rotation.
Thornton starts in the rotation. Both Pearson and Thornton should be in the rotation. Eliminate anyone not named Ryu and Roark.
So you want to punt Shoemaker? Stupid comment friend
That makes 4 starters and they’ll need at least 5. Who said punt Shoemaker? You did. And, if the Jays did punt Shoemaker nobody would miss him.
Stick to hockey. I just scored on your 5-hole with ease.
Hmm…no…you are a bit confusing.
You’re always confused Terry. Are you going to come up with an opinion rather than thoughtless complaints?
You literally said eliminate everyone not named Roark or Ryu.
Sounds like you want to punt Shoemaker to me.
Lots of people would miss him.
Healthy Shoemaker is quite a solid chucker.
It’s simple service time management.
Lining up Pearson’s service time with the team’s ideal competitive window, why waste anything.
If the team has a hot start, he’ll make a nice addition.
If the team is hit with a lot of injuries, we’ll probably be fed spin as to why other pitchers are brought up instead of him.
Is what it is.
We aren’t arguing over the service. I know it’s wrong to take a kid who’s good enough to be in the rotation and shove him in AAA, but this is the way it is. Until rules are changed, Pearson should be up the minute after that cutoff happens in mid-April. Yes I’d have him down for the first few weeks.
Simple math for you, filthyrich; I named 4 starters, usually teams roll a 5-man rotation, how many spots are available?
Shoemaker is never healthy. Cannot rely on him to be healthy. Normally guys like him would be competing for a spot, and that’s what I would do. Shoemaker has had 26 starts in 3 years and you’re automatically handing him a job? Chuck this. Nobody is missing him.
If teams didn’t have roster spots to consider and payroll to take into account, then your choices are winners.
But being realistic about who is being paid above minimum, who has option years, and who has shown some success at the big league level before, then as of today, I’d expect Shoemaker to be handed a job.
Anderson, Roark, Thornton and Ryu to make five..
The ‘competition’ has more to prove than these five, as of today.
Ryu had 27 starts in 3 years and rebounded. He was younger and is better though.
Something like Josh Tomlin making 26 starts, 36 appearances over 3 years and returning to be serviceable for a couple years isn’t outrageous to expect. Tomlin was younger too, with more pedigree.
But I’m talking about a guy staying healthy enough to get to the deadline, not a long term piece.
Not outrageous to expect. Probably not betting on it, but it’s been separate injuries at least. There’s some reason for hope.
He’d be mildly missed.
As a piece for contender, he could be a Marco Estrada type piece. Replaceable for sure but capable of getting hot.
Big picture, for building a dynasty, he won’t be missed, true.
Anything he gives is gravy based on the expectation of injury. Replacements are at the ready.
Be realistic? Ok.
2017-18 Shoemaker had a 4.49 ERA at 1.37 WHIP in a somewhat pitcher-friendly environment in Anaheim in 21 starts over two seasons. Realistically, handing him a starting rotation spot without his injury history means the Blue Jays starting rotation is not that good. Guys with a 4 and and half ERA do not have job security even if they roll 30 starts and 180 innings per season.
2019? Small sample of starts where he dominated the great Tigers and Orioles, gave up some big bombs to Boston, didn’t pitch great against Minnesota and was out of the game in Oakland after 3 innings. Are we really going to call him a stud?
Shoemaker doesn’t make enough money to warrant a starting job either. May as well give Yamaguchi the 5th spot since he makes more than Thornton.
So being realistic, Jays fans should stop thinking this is going to be a massive year. This team isn’t close to being ready yet. They are close to being an improving .500 team. 95 wins and playoff spot? Not this year.
Are people calling Shoemaker a stud? Lol.
A capable number 4 is my expectation. Hopeful he only misses a few weeks before summer, and the staff in general shows enough to make him expendable at the trade deadline in a minor exchange.
Marco Estrada level would be the dream.
Look around the league and you might notice that a lot of teams would love to have a guy at the back of their rotation pitching to a 4.50 ERA.
We’ve seen some arms that get hit up by the Orioles and Tigers so if Shoemaker can at least pitch well against the weaker teams, then he should have some job security when healthy.
Honestly, I could see Yamaguchi getting the 5th spot due to making more than Thornton. The thought makes me cringe though. Yamaguchi can be a long man in the pen and I’d be content. Still could get Kikuchi’d here. Thornton has actually proven more than Yamaguchi, so considering all the factors I stated, I still think Thornton gets the chance out of the gate.
Hoping to see them improve enough to finish above .500. That would be a huge step toward the ultimate goal of competing for at least a few year stretch. To me that would be a massive year. If they are above .5o0 after May, and Pearson is pitching well in the majors, then we start to think about trading some pieces for some real depth to fill out the back end. 95 wins and playoff spot doesn’t seem outrageous, but I definitely wouldn’t bet on it. 85 wins and battling for 2nd WC up to mid-September would be a realistic target in my opinion.
dynamite drop in monty
My grand slam was supposed to come with bacon.
Pearson and Guerrero Jr to NYY for Clint Frazier and maybe some cash
Yes and I’m the Emperor of China. My last name is Obama too…
This comment is ban worthy.
Throw in Biggio too and you have a deal! Clown
Take a long walk off a short pier.
i award you no points, and may god have mercy on your soul.
I was willing to throw Bichette and Giles into the deal too, but if that’s all you want for Frazier we can make this trade immediately.
Done deal if you steal Stanton as well
Lol! I know you’re kidding, but I laugh when Yankee fans think Clint Frazier will get a #3 straight up.
If you look at his AAA numbers i think you wouldn’t be laughing so hard at my fair proposal.
Your mom is calling you for dinner
Maybe some cash?
Not enough Nigerian prince scams in the world to make this happen haha
“Developing” the service time limit, sure
Ridiculous. He needs AAA seasoning, service time implications or not.
Another overrated pitcher who throws 100 He’s Noah Syndergaard 2.0
Syndergaard is a top 20 pitcher in MLB, that would be an extremely good result for Pearson.
Also “overrated” despite zero innings in MLB for you to be able to make any kind of of judgement on him, excellent troll.
Um, Thor, top 20 pitcher in the MLB? Um…
Probably more top-15 you’re right
lol as a jays fan I’d be over the moon if Pearson became Syndergaard 2.0
Is this comment a joke?
Any Jays fan would love Pearson to end up as a Syndergaard. You’re obviously looking at last year’s ERA and writing him off. Foolish.
dont say that they will find a knuckleballer to trade for him lol
Wrong front office.
If he’s going to be on an innings restriction and he continues to dominate in spring training, he really should break camp with the major league team as every inning he pitches in the minors is less time he can contribute to the big league club. They should let him break camp with the big league team and help them redevelop a winning culture there. Even if he is shut down in July, it would be worth it for him and the club to get most of his innings in the big leagues this year. It seems like he is more than ready for the show.
Seems like he’s more than ready for the show based off 3 spring training innings?
“any chance that Pearson shows so much that he cracks the Opening Day roster?”
FREE seventh year.
dynamite drop in monty
Well if ya smoke like he smokes then you high like errrryday
213 will regulate
All about service time. Chris Paddack was on an innings limit last year and still made opening day with a great spring. I think players should be rewarded if they show they are ready.
The Padres have proven they’re more than willing to spoil a great group of prospects. Paddock will rue the day he was put on the opening roster. Rue the day!
Baseball is so dumb. Only sport that doesn’t make every effort to put out their most entertaining product. Actively make their teams less enjoyable.
you don’t watch much football or basketball do you?
dynamite drop in monty
Owners don’t care about “entertaining” anyone. They’re in biz to make money and in order to do so they will manipulate any systems available to them to protect and / or elongate investments or their “goods”.
How is losing Pearson a year early “entertaining” for Blue Jays fans?
dynamite drop in monty
I’m not sure why you wouldn’t want to just wait 2 weeks and have another year. Especially for a bad team
Incentivizing teams to put out worse products by gaming service time helps nobody and makes baseball worse.
@SuperSinker Not waiting two weeks to call Pearson up IS “putting out a worse product” because it means the Blue Jays won’t have him on the team in 2026.
2 weeks is the equivalent of an IL stint. Get real. With The way the rules are written right now—if you don’t wait those 2 weeks you’re putting yourself at a competitive disadvantage in the future. If your team is a legitimate or fringe playoff contender you might roll the dice. I personally wouldn’t but some teams would. But the Jays arent that. They’re a 75-80 win team at best this year. Why you would give up a year for 2 weeks is beyond me.
Really? So you’re telling me having to wait 2 weeks. ~14 days is worse than getting to watch Pearson in your home teams jersey for an extra year?
It sounds like you’re an extremely impatient— I want it right now kind of guy. Because on a non playoff contending baseball team that’s a trade off you should make 10/10 times.
Until they decide to close the loophole there’s no reason for a team like the Jays should put themselves at a disadvantage by not using it.
This isn’t about impatience from supersinker’s part; it’s about allowing the very best of the best to be in the best baseball league in the world at-once. It’s about fairness toward a player who’s skills deserve to be on display at the big league level.
But, bottom line is this is a business. Jays have to make a business decision and they can use the excuse of going with a light workload early in the year to gain the most out of Pearson until the season winds down.
But I think super’s argument was based on principle more than anything, and certainly not about being impatient. And after yet another awful outing from Anderson (and Zeuch) it’s apparent Pearson belongs in the rotation sooner rather than later.
Hopefully we’re not looking at Dustin McGowan 2.0
dynamite drop in monty
Or Dustin Hermanson 4.7
Part of this is service time, part of it is monitoring innings so that he never suffers an arm injury in his career. He’ll always be healthy, right?
If he’s good enough to be a starter on the Blue Jays then he should be on the big league club as a starter. If he isn’t, send him down. Right now it appears to be the former.
Let’s not pretend the development is about the workload. They’ve given Pearson a minimal workload at this point so we are not sure what he can handle and what he can’t. The Jays spin to keep Pearson in Buffalo when he’s probably, at worst, the Jays #3 is laughable.
Translation: no, he has no chance. Even if he earns it, we’re definitely going to Bryant his ass.
As well you should
“See, e.g.” is pretty redundant.
MLB hitters can turn around any fastball. Pearson needs to be able to locate his FB and throw his secondary pitches.
Sending him to TOR at this point based on 3 AAA games and some spring training games would be pure negligence.
You should watch him pitch sometime.
I watched him. Last game. A lot of his FB were aimed right down the middle. His chage was 90 mph. One guy from PIT pulled one his FB and just missed hitting it out.
Doing well early in spring training means absolutely nothing. He needs more development.
Good. Then by your assessment on Pearson the following guys should be cut:
Your scouting report of FB down the middle could be said of these guys. Does Pearson need more development? Yes. He’s also good enough to be in the starting rotation on this team. He can develop at the major league level surrounded by vets.
Pearson was more dominant on the mound than Bo was at the plate in AA and AAA. Let’s send him and Vlad down to let them work on their glove. His spring might mean nothing. His work in the minors means something.
He’s only thrown 175 Innings in the past 4 years (college, pros, fall, etc) so as great as he might look right now — you’ve kind of got to side with TOR management in terms of ‘holding him back and not rushing him to the bigs just because his talent may be ready. Rushing him up now, even if his results are good, could be a recipe for disaster – injury wise – in a year or two. I’m sure the kid would love to crack the roster out of spring training. But as far as what the “right thing” to do for his long term career — it truly is probably best for him and the team to err on the side of caution. Especially seeing as he has already had an injury issue once thus far in his early career. It looks like there’s no doubt he will eventually be a good major leaguer. But ramping him up slowly and ‘safely’ is probably legitimately the best option. Regardless of service time or anything like that… it’s just probably the right call health/career wise too. at least in the long term.
Injury is inevitable. Either he’s ready for the workload or he isn’t. Stop coddling the kid. Every starting pitcher has experienced an injury. Can’t be cautious.
Pearson should be up mid-to-late April. Enough playing around.
Mets and Angels would put him out there all year.
I’m reminded of Stephen Strasburg, who helped the Nats to a playoff run, then had to be shut down due to an innings limit.
I’m totally on board with Nate getting to the Show whenever he’s ready to carry a full workload with no restrictions. However long that takes.
This is a generational type arm in the Haladay of Verlander class, so any caution taken in his development will pay off in spades down the road.