Nate Pearson, RHP
Ht: 6’6” Wt: 245
Nate Pearson was nothing short of dominant in his Northwest League debut on Sunday night. Pearson, who was taken with the 28th pick of the 2017 MLB Draft, featured a fastball that sat at 98 mph and touched 100 mph three times. The lowest velocity he recorded on the night was 96.9 mph. To be fair, after Pearson was promoted after pitching just one inning in the GCL, he probably knew he was going to be limited to just an inning or two so he could totally blow it out. Therefore, these velocity readings are not exactly indicative of how hard he would throw if he were to be stretched out a little longer.
Pearson absolutely overpowered Volcanoes hitters, striking out the side on just 11 pitches in his first inning, throwing nine fastballs.
Pearson threw four sliders on the night, ranging between 86.1 and 88.3 mph. He commanded the pitch well when he threw it and at its best, it had two plane bite, with more horizontal action than depth.
I only got to see one curveball from Pearson on the night, which clocked at 79.4 mph. The pitch had 12-6 action and was clearly distinguishable from his slider.
Pearson demonstrated repeatable mechanics tonight, with a short arm circle and a compact delivery that doesn’t have a lot of moving parts. Pearson has an enormous lower half that he uses effectively. If he can continue to generate velocity through his lower half, it will take pressure off his arm.
Pearson’s arm action looks to be stiff at times, appearing as if he is muscling the ball to the plate. The fact that he audibly grunted on a few of his fastballs shows me that he was giving more effort than he would be able to do over a longer outing.
While Pearson can dominate short season hitters with his fastball, being one dimensional will hurt him at the later levels. Everybody knows Pearson can throw 100 mph, so it would benefit him to work on his offspeed pitches, which he will need at the higher levels.
There remain questions about Pearson’s durability after getting screws in his right elbow in high school back in 2015, but there are no young pitchers who can throw 100 mph that are exempt from durability concerns.
MLB Comparison: Justin Verlander