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Rick Zamperin: Blue Jays’ Nate Pearson impresses with Major League Baseball debut

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Nate Pearson delivers a pitch during the third inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Washington.
Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Nate Pearson delivers a pitch during the third inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Washington. AP Photo/Nick Wass

If his highly-anticipated big league debut on Wednesday night in Washington is any indication of what we can expect for the remainder of his burgeoning career, then the Toronto Blue Jays have something really special in Nate Pearson.

The fresh-faced, fireballing phenom went toe-to-toe through five innings with future baseball hall of famer Max Scherzer at Nationals Park, which was technically Toronto’s first ‘home game’ of this unprecedented MLB season, and was flat out impressive.

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Pearson, a 23-year-old rookie who is six-feet-six-inches tall, 250 lbs. and one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball, struck out five batters in his five innings of work against the reigning World Series champions and gave up just two hits and did not allow a run.

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Forty-eight of the 75 pitches he threw were strikes and Pearson’s fastball was consistently topping out at 99 mph, which must have tricked the Nationals’ batters into thinking they were facing their own ace.

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The native of Odessa, Fla., fanned the first batter he faced when he got Nats shortstop Trea Turner to swing through a nasty slider and became only the third starting pitcher in Blue Jays history to pitch at least five shutout innings in his first Major League start.

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Without a doubt, Pearson has the brightest future among all of Toronto’s pitching prospects and as he learns how to manage the rigors of a season and hones his craft against the best hitters on the planet, he has all the tools to become a perennial Cy Young Award candidate in the years to come.

Read more: Jays’ Pearson excited about first start

I admit that I may be jumping the gun in offering sky high praise to an unproven talent at the Major League level, knowing there have been countless others who have been in the same situation and have flamed out, but Pearson has that ‘it factor.’

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The Blue Jays’ top prospect has a great work ethic and a desire to become one of the game’s best pitchers, and Person’s impressive showing on Wednesday proved to everyone that he is just starting to scratch the surface.

Rick Zamperin is the assistant program, news and senior sports director at Global News Radio 900 CHML.