Toronto, which was struggling to build a starting rotation, recruited Ryu Hyun-jin (36) from the free agent (FA) market as a team ace ahead of the 2020 season. $80 million over four years, at the time the most expensive pitcher in Toronto club history.
Toronto had a long-term rotation plan in which Ryu Hyun-jin would serve as an ace for four years and in the meantime develop starting pitchers. If Ryu Hyun-jin is the team’s ‘present’, the team’s ‘future’ is definitely right-hander Nate Pearson (26). Not only in Toronto, but also in the major leagues as a whole, favorable comments poured out that there are not many pitching talents like this. He was a flair for throwing at 100 miles per hour (161 km) as a starter.
Pearson, who spent his debut season with a 1-win average ERA of 6.00 in the last 5 games of the 2020 season, thrilled fans by throwing a powerful fastball on a big stage such as the postseason. One of Toronto’s top stars heading into the 2021 season was Pearson. However, he failed to create the command to back this 100 miles. It was a ‘ball ball ball ball’. Injuries overlapped here, and drifting began.
Pearson only had an ERA of 4.20 in 12 games in 2021, and in 2022 he did not appear on the major league stage at all. He only played in the minor 먹튀검증leagues and was out for a long time due to injury. After the 2022 season, he also threw in the Dominican Winter League. He was to catch the ball.
There was no room for Pearson in the starting lineup anymore. He had to play out of the bullpen. But when everyone started giving up on Pearson, a twist happened.
Pearson, who played his first major league game this year against the Chicago White Sox on April 26 (no runs scored in one inning), showed off a counterattack against Boston held at Fenway Park on the 2nd. When starter Jose Berios hit a series of homers against the opponent and went down, he got on the mound and left a strong impression with a good pitching with 1 hit and 3 strikeouts in 2 innings.
The highest speed started in the mid- to late-90s and ultimately exceeded 100 miles. You could even see the ball come alive with the naked eye. The feeling of hitting was good, and the Boston batters who hit Berrios with a long hit on this day also couldn’t budge on Pearson’s ball.
After the game, Toronto manager John Schneider said, “I liked the improved performance Pearson showed during the second inning,” and emphasized with a broad smile, “The stuff was there and there was a sense of calm. I think his stuff was overwhelming.”
There are still no seats in the starting rotation. Toronto already has five starters (Kevin Gaussman, Alec Manoa, Jose Berrios, Chris Bassitt and Yusei Kikuchi). And in the second half, Ryu Hyun-jin returns, Pearson did not even prepare for the start with the camp. It was not enough to do the process of raising the number of pitches during the season.
However, if you do well in the bullpen this year to digest 1-2 innings, the future may be different. Ryu Hyun-jin’s contract ends this year, and Kikuchi’s last year is next year. 2025 is the last year for the basset. When the contracts of the starting pitchers end, Pearson may have another chance. A starting pitcher who throws 100 mph is attractive then and still is.