Toronto takes hard-throwing Pearson at 28

Scouts praise right-hander's overpowering fastball

June 13th, 2017

TORONTO -- When it comes to pure power, right-hander Nate Pearson was the talk of the 2017 MLB Draft. He can thank a fastball that reaches triple digits for that.

Pearson rode his eye-popping velocity all the way to the first round of the MLB Draft when Toronto selected him with pick No. 28 on Monday night. He joined North Carolina shortstop Logan Warmoth (No. 22) and high school catcher Hagen Danner as Toronto's selections from Day 1.

Blue Jays' 22nd overall pick: Logan Warmoth

Blue Jays' 61st overall: Hagen Danner

The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET.

:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::

"His stuff really trended upwards toward the later part of the season," Blue Jays director of amateur scouting Steve Sanders said. "We feel it's an opportunity for him to come out with four pitches, big stuff, and [he] has a chance to start."

According to, Pearson was ranked the 35th-best prospect in the Draft. He earned rave reviews for an overpowering fastball, which he throws with above-average command. Where scouts seem to differ is whether Pearson can make it as a starter or if he'd be best served in high-leverage situations out of the bullpen.

Success as a starter likely will come down to the development of his secondary pitches. Pearson throws a curveball, slider and changeup, but all three are inconsistent, and how well his velocity stands up during prolonged outings every five days remains to be seen.

Pearson's pick comes with a recommended slot value of $2.3 million. Toronto has a bonus pool of $8,231,000 to spend in the first 10 rounds, which ranks 13th in the Majors. This marked the ninth consecutive year the Blue Jays took at least one pitcher in the first round of the MLB Draft.

The 6-foot-6 hard thrower does have some previous health concerns. Pearson had a screw inserted into his throwing elbow during high school, but he remained healthy during junior college. Sanders said the Blue Jays have done their due diligence and are not concerned.

"It's really good stuff," Sanders said. "Really special type stuff across the board and as a bigger guy, with a good delivery, certainly feel he has a great chance to start and that's how we intend to send him out. He had a great year at the College of Central Florida down there and we're excited what he brings to the table when he gets on a mound."