Canadians' Pearson keeps putting up zeros

Blue Jays first-round pick yet to allow a run in six games as a pro

Nate Pearson has limited Northwest League opponents to a .077 batting average through 12 innings. (Vancouver Canadians)

By Michael Leboff / MiLB.com | August 19, 2017 2:06 AM

Nate Pearson is penning an impressive opening chapter to his professional career. 

The Blue Jays' No. 8 prospect pitched three perfect innings, striking out two in Class A Short Season Vancouver's 3-2, 11-inning loss to Spokane on Friday night. The 28th overall pick in this year's Draft has not allowed a run and yielded four hits in 13 innings over six games. 

"The hitters are all in survival mode against him," Vancouver pitching coach Jim Czajkowski said. "They're just trying to fight off his fastball. It's not like they're trying to do some damage -- they're just trying to get a piece of it to survive an at-bat and wait him out or walk or something like that.

"He's done a very nice job of pounding in the zone and moving it around when he gets in there to get these guys to hit something soft on the ground if it gets deeper in the count."

The Odessa, Florida, native threw 28 of 47 pitches for strikes. So far in his brief career, Pearson has fanned 16 batters and walked one.


Gameday box score


"I haven't seen him fail. He's been excellent," Czajkowski added. "He doesn't take off during his side sessions. His personality is one that he just wants to grind and keep working and working and working. He's got a goal in his mind and he's not going to deviate from it or let anything sway him from it. He's a humble kid, but has confidence in himself."

Pearson got Miguel Aparicio and Chris Seise to ground out before Tyler Ratliff flied out to right field to close the first. 

Pearson recorded groundouts from Melvin Novoa and Matt Whatley to start the second before striking out Austin O'Banion. The 20-year-old whiffed Curtis Terry to open the third before getting Kole Enright to ground out. The 6-foot-6 righty wrapped up his night by getting Cristian Inoa to fly out to left.

"His curveball was outstanding tonight and he was throwing it for strikes, so that was putting hitters behind the 8-ball all night," the pitching coach said. "They had no real offensive swing at him. They were just trying to catch up to it and just hit the ball on the ground and that's good."

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Even though Pearson is on a strict innings limit since Toronto drafted him in June, this is the third time he hasn't allowed a hit. The Florida junior college product has been overpowering hitters with a heavy fastball, but has seen his secondary offerings improve since turning pro.

"The command of his fastball has led to success. They're just trying to catch up to his fastball right now," Czajkowski said. "He used it well today and located it in places where they couldn't hit it. Guys just can't catch up to 97-plus [mph] at their waist.

"But we've talked about not relying on his fastball. When he first got here, he asked if he should just throw fastballs and we told him that wouldn't do him any good because he needs to develop all of his pitches. Even if he does give up a hit or two on his secondary pitches, he still has to throw it because he's going to need it next year when he moves up to a higher level."


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Terry tied the game for Spokane with a one-out solo homer in the ninth off William Ouellette. Whatley ended the game with a walk-off blast off Brayden Bouchey (0-1). 

Michael Leboff is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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