Nate Pearson unleashes a breaking ball at 84 miles per hour against Salem-Keizer August 13.
Nate Pearson has just turned 21 years old and the future is pretty bright for the 28th overall pick of the 2017 draft. The Blue Jays first rounder has yet to give up a run in his first 13 innings of professional baseball—all but one of them with Vancouver—and has posted a 16-1 strikeout/walk total with just four hits allowed.
Nate Pearson looks on during a team practice at Nat Bailey Stadium.
C’s pitching coach Jim Czajkowski had this to say about the College of Central Florida Patriots hurler and the JUCO Pitcher of the Year in a recent interview on TSN Radio in Vancouver.
“Very aggressive mound presence. Goes right at guys, not afraid to throw his fastball. Has a feel of if the hitter can catch up to him or not, whether he has to pull the string on a breaking ball or not. I saw him (against) the best hitter that Salem Keizer had, just blew him away with fastballs. Aggressive, pretty athletic for a big a guy that he is.”
Here is video of the 6-foot-6 Pearson warming in the bullpen before a start July 29 with Czajkowski watching over him.
Here is more video of Pearson getting ready before his July 29 start.
The following is a transcript of an interview I had with the Odessa, Florida native during the C’s last homestand and he addressed a number of topics during our chat.
Pearson on playing in Vancouver.
“Vancouver, it’s beautiful. I haven’t been up here before and when I first got up here, the weather and everything was just so great, so I was like, ‘Oh, I could get used to this’ so it’s been great.”
Pearson on his decision to transfer from Florida International University to the College of Central Florida.
“I just went day by day when I was there. I decided to make a change and go the juco route, not a lot of big recruits do. Once I got there, I was there for a purpose and made a lot of great friends and just kept doing what I do and just kept working.”
Pearson on the most influential people in his career.
“Definitely my Dad. He’s given just so many life lessons. He never even played baseball. He just knows mentally just how to stay mentally strong because he gives me a lot of great advice.”
“My high school coach, Jeff Swymer, out of Bishop McLaughlin Catholic. He really helped me my senior year because I was coming off my injury and he was always really there for me for my pitching and my mechanics and everything. He was good.”
Nate Pearson keeping his arms in shape.
Pearson on developing his 100 mile per hour fastball.
“Most of it came naturally. I do a lot of arm care stuff, probably more than a lot of guys. I do a lot of the Driveline Baseball stuff, it’s over in the West Coast I follow that pretty good and that’s helped my velo jump a lot.”
Pearson on knowing when he has reached triple-digits on the radar gun.
“Yes and no. Some fastballs I let go and I don’t know for sure. I try not to pay attention to the radar gun when I’m pitching because it’s a little bit of a distraction but I just try to get batters out and if I end up hitting 100, it’s a good thing I guess.”
Pearson on his pitching repertoire.
“Right now, it’s just a four-seamer. I think I want to end up learning the two-seamer and get a little bit more movement on it, but right now it’s just four-seam.”
“The changeup was the first offspeed pitch I learned. My pitching coach, Anthony Telford, he pitched quite a bit in the bigs and that was the first pitch that he taught me how to throw besides my fastball. I took that to heart and I practiced that probably more than any of my other offspeed pitches and it’s no wonder why it’s my second-best pitch.”
“I’d probably say my slider is a little bit better (than my curve) but I’m also working on my curveball just because you give two different looks to the batter, just to be able to mix it up but yeah, I’m continuously working on both of those.”
Pearson on going through elbow surgery in high school.
“That happened going into my junior year, right around the main recruitment year. I suffered that blow. It was kind of depressing for a little bit. There was one point I didn’t know if I was going to able to throw again so I just tried to stay positive. That’s when my Dad really helped me out. My Mom, they can notice when I was down because I’ve been playing baseball my whole life, that’s all I really know how to do but it was also good for me to learn what other aspects of life I can improve on besides baseball so I got a little break from baseball and focused on my school work. It was a good learning experience for me.”
Pearson with fellow Blue Jays 2017 first round pick Logan Warmoth.
Christmas in July!🌲🎅🏼 May or may not have hurt Santa’s leg😬 pic.twitter.com/8lGRGqyh9d
— Nate Pearson (@big_nate5) July 26, 2017
Pearson on having fun at the park.
“That’s what I’m all about. I’m always about having fun. I’m always messing around with the guys. If you’re not having fun, then why are you here? I fell in love with this game by having fun with it. I’m always going to show up and try to have some fun with it.”
My thanks to Nate Pearson for taking the time to chat with me and to C’s Media Relations Assistant Sharlene Canning for arranging the interview.