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1. Nate Pearson – P
2019 Top-30
Age: 23 yr, Weight: 245 lbs, Height: 6-6
Hits/Throws: R/R
School: JC of Central Florida
MLB Draft: Round 1, Overall: 28
Future Value
Ceiling: 70
Realistic: 55
Current Level: AAA, ETA: 2020
One of the top pitching prospects in baseball with a 100 mph fastball and a pair of above average or better secondaries.

An absolute monster. Pearson is all of his listed 6-foot-6 250 lbs, with a broad shouldered frame, and a strong lower half. The righthander uses his natural strength to generate one of the hardest fastballs in baseball, consistently sitting 98-100 mph. The fastball generates natural downhill plane due to his large frame, and he’s effective landing it to either side of the plate. The pitch works up in the zone and generates above average spin, but it’s not as deadly high in the zone as one might expect due to the velocity of the pitch.

Over the course of 2019 I took in three Pearson starts, two truncated two inning opens and one traditional six inning turn. Depending upon the role his fastball varied in velocity. In the truncated starts Pearson let it fly sitting 99-101, while in his starts he tended to sit 96-98, reaching back for the triple digit heat when needed. He holds his velocity deep into starts, and at times ticked up his second time through the lineup.

He mixes in a plus slider that flashes double plus at its best, featuring two plane movement, with late bite and twist. It’s a swing and miss pitch that sits in the mid-80s to low 90s, deadly to righthanders off the plate, but effective when landed to the back foot versus left handed hitters. Pearson will also mix in his curveball, a high 70s offering with 12-6 shape and late bite. I’m not as confident in his changeup developing into a plus pitch the way others are, and the pitch was rarely used across a series of looks this summer.

Mechanically Pearson generates excellent extension, helping the perceived velocity of his already electric fastball. He gets a big push off his back leg, working from the stretch in a simple motion toward home, lifting his front leg before dropping and driving toward the plate.

Despite his mechanics being relatively simple, there’s effort in his motion if only due to his sheer size and lack of athleticism. It’s not a major red flag but something to watch throughout his career, as it should take effort on his part to maintain his large frame. Elite stuff, size, and a good pitch mix, Pearson has the upside few arms in the minors can match. The ceiling is an elite front of the rotation starter with a power relief floor.