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Here is 1 future ace for each AL East team

@ladsonbill24
April 2, 2020

Every team needs an ace, and they are valued accordingly. The Yankees shelled out $324 million to land an ace in right-hander Gerrit Cole. But not every club can do that, and it behooves every club -- the Yankees included -- to grow aces rather than buy them. This week,

Every team needs an ace, and they are valued accordingly. The Yankees shelled out $324 million to land an ace in right-hander Gerrit Cole. But not every club can do that, and it behooves every club -- the Yankees included -- to grow aces rather than buy them.

This week, we ask our American League East beat writers to pick a future ace for each of the five teams in the division. The reporters don’t know when that day will arrive, but one thing is certain: these youngsters have bright futures.

Blue Jays: RHP Nate Pearson
Pearson, the team’s No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline, was building even more hype in Spring Training, as his 100-mph fastball and advanced secondary pitches were too much for Major League hitters. The right-hander has made only three career Triple-A starts, largely due to a broken arm that cost him nearly all of 2018, but he isn’t expected to need much more seasoning before making his big league debut.

Pearson’s fastball gets well-earned attention, but his slider has the potential to be a dominant out pitch. His changeup does enough to keep hitters off-balance. With all the raw physical tools that clubs covet in a homegrown ace and the mental game to put it all together, the sky is the limit for Pearson in Toronto. -- Keegan Matheson

Orioles: RHP Grayson Rodriguez
Pitching is the strength of the Orioles’ improving farm system, and the jewel is Rodriguez, the club’s No. 2 prospect, and MLB's No. 36 overall, per MLB Pipeline. The big righty has progressed smoothly since Baltimore drafted him with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2018 Draft, breezing through a short stint in the Gulf Coast League before dominating the South Atlantic League as a 19-year-old in 2019.

Rodriguez is 6-foot-5, 220 pounds and features four average-or-better offerings he can throw consistently for strikes. Those pitches already miss bats: a high-spin four-seam fastball that lives in the mid-90s and touches 99, a plus low-80s slider he uses as his primary out pitch, a slow curve he pairs with it and a developing changeup. Toss in mound presence and maturity that scouts consider advanced for his age, and it’s a package that points to a future frontline starter. -- Joe Trezza

Rays: RHP Tyler Glasnow
Due to a mild right forearm strain, Glasnow was limited to 12 starts in 2019, but that was all anyone needed to see in order to understand why he was once the No. 1 prospect in the Pirates’ organization. Powered by his 6-foot-8 frame, Glasnow produces incredible extension, limiting the amount of time hitters have to react on any particular pitch. That’s not good news for hitters when Glasnow delivers a high-90s fastball or a curveball that has an average spin rate of 2,907 rpm, fourth among starters that threw at least 250 curves in ‘19.

Glasnow jumped onto the scene early last season, winning AL Pitcher of the Month in April, and was well on his way to earning his first All-Star selection. In fact, during the first six weeks of the season, Glasnow was arguably the best pitcher in the AL. If Glasnow stays healthy, he could become the next ace for a Rays organization that is known for its stellar pitching. -- Juan Toribio

Red Sox: RHP Noah Song
If not for the Navy commitment, the power righty likely would have been a first-round Draft pick last year. Instead, the Sox nabbed him in the fourth round. But Song should be worth waiting for. Song, who is 6-foot-4, has a fastball that tops out at 99 mph. He also has a strong changeup and a curveball that has the potential to be a plus pitch.

It’s unclear how much time Song will spend with the Red Sox over the next two years as he completes his Navy commitment, but it is clear that he has the best pure stuff of any prospect in Boston’s farm system. The Red Sox haven’t developed a true ace since Jon Lester, but Song could be the one to end that drought. -- Ian Browne

Yankees: RHP Clarke Schmidt
The 24-year-old right-hander opened eyes in Yankees camp this spring, elbowing into the big league roster conversation by flashing a polished three-pitch mix that vaulted him to the top of the list among the Bombers’ pitching prospects.

The Yanks selected the University of South Carolina standout with the No. 16 overall pick in 2017, despite him undergoing Tommy John surgery a month prior to the Draft. Schmidt made a full recovery last year, with his mid-90s fastball, curveball and changeup helping Double-A Trenton to an Eastern League championship. -- Bryan Hoch

Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-2016. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.