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2017 MLB Draft Profile: Nate Pearson, RHP, Central Florida Junior College

If you like 100 MPH fastballs, you’ll love Nate Pearson

Junior college players sometimes fall through the gaps with MLB Draft coverage, but that won’t be the case for Nate Pearson, who has shot up draft boards in recent weeks and should get into the first round. Let’s take a look and add him to our profile list.

THE BASICS

Nate Pearson is from Odessa, Florida. Coming out of high school in 2015, he was on the scouting radar as a physical right-hander with an 88-90 MPH fastball but was rather raw, had an elbow issue, and was committed to Florida International University. He wasn’t drafted.

He had a solid freshman season at FIU in 2016 with a 2.70 ERA in 33 innings with a 33/12 K/BB. He was primarily a reliever, making just one start, so he transferred to Central Florida Junior College for greater exposure in 2017.

He’s been brilliant as a starter: through 81 innings over 13 starts, Pearson has 118 strikeouts against 23 walks with a 1.56 ERA and just 60 hits allowed.

STRENGTHS

Pearson is listed at 6-6, 240, a right-handed hitter and thrower born August 20, 1996.

As good as the performance numbers are, it is the radar gun number that gets the attention of scouts: he’s been clocked as high as 100 in short stretches, hit 101 in bullpen work, and throws consistently at 93-96.

He doesn’t just offer heat: on the right day he also has a quality curveball, slider, and change-up mixture. His control is remarkably good for a young power pitcher and his mechanics have been much more consistent this year, enhancing all aspects of his game.

WEAKNESSES

Reports on his breaking stuff are mixed: both the curveball and change-up draw grades between 45 and 60 depending on what day you see him. When his off-speed pitches are in sync he looks like a number two starter but they aren’t always in sync; of course that’s hardly unusual for a 20-year-old pitcher.

The other issue is durability. He had a screw inserted into his elbow in high school. So far this hasn’t been a problem and he has shown no signs of further elbow trouble, but it is a factor to consider when thinking of his future role.

OVERALL PROJECTION

Five months ago Pearson was projected as a third round pick but his velocity increase, excellent spring and his continued good health have boosted his stock. Teams who view him as a starting pitcher will be tempted to take him in the first round.