Blue Jays 40-man Roster Review: The 2024 season is Nate Pearson’s last chance
2 months ago
Nate Pearson is running out of chances.
This is the 40-man Roster Review, in which we’re going to take a look back at each player on the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster, and how they performed in 2023, as well as their outlook for 2024.
The 26-year-old former top prospect had a weird season in 2023, posting a 4.85 ERA and a 4.85 FIP in 42.2 innings pitched. Despite averaging 97.9 mph with his fastball, along with a nasty knuckle curveball and a filthy slider, Pearson only had a 23.6 K%, paired with a career-low 9.9 BB%.
Pearson actually had a great start to his season, posting a 1.96 ERA and a 3.47 FIP in his first 23 innings pitched, which also saw a 28.9 K% and a 5.6 BB%. His next two outings were rough, to say the least, as he gave up eight earned runs in just an inning pitched, ballooning his ERA to 4.88 and his FIP to 4.17.
The flamethrower got back on track over his next eight appearances, not allowing a single earned run and owning a 2.84 FIP in 9.2 innings pitched, but his K% plummeted to 22.9% while his BB% increased to 8.6% in this time.
Pearson’s season derailed after that (no pun intended, I hope you like my photoshop), as he pitched nine innings and gave up 10 earned runs in eight appearances. He also had an even 17.8 BB% and K% in this time, which wasn’t great.
Fangraphs’ Steamer predicts that Pearson will have a much better 2024. It has him posting a 4.12 ERA and a 4.36 FIP in 57 innings pitched, along with a 25.9 K% and a 10.6 BB%. The Jays could definitely use that in the bullpen next season.
I really don’t know what to make of this season. Pearson looked like the former top prospect for the first few months, albeit a less valuable version of himself as he was in the bullpen. It was also the longest stretch of the season, making up 53.9% of all innings he pitched. It seemed like when it rained, it poured for Pearson, as the two appearances where he gave up eight runs added an extra 1.61 runs to his ERA.
With all that being said, the 2024 season is really Pearson’s last to live up to his potential. He only has one option year remaining, which means that after the 2024 season, he’ll have to be designated for assignment if he doesn’t make the team. There’s no doubt a team will take a chance on him, as he reaches triple-digits often with the fastball and has two plus off-speed pitches, even if his command and control can elude him at times.’
It’s also worth mentioning that the 2023 season was by far Pearson’s healthiest since 2019. Between the big leagues and Triple-A Buffalo, Pearson pitched 63.1 innings, the second most in his career behind the 101.2 innings in 2019. The 55 games that he appeared in was by far the most, surpassing the 25 he started in 2019.
It’ll be interesting to see how the 27-year-old does in 2024, because he still has the potential to be a valuable piece to this team, he just needs to stay healthy and avoid two games where he gives up eight earned runs in a combined inning.
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