Former Bishop McLaughlin standout Nate Pearson made his much-anticipated debut with the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday.
The right-hander was impressive in his first start, throwing five scoreless innings and allowing just two hits in a 4-0 loss to the Nationals.
He became just the third Blue Jays pitcher to toss at least five scoreless innings in his debut, joining Mauro Gozzo (Aug. 8, 1989) and Trent Thornton (March 31, 2019).
And Pearson (featured photo above courtesy of Allasyn Lieneck) did it while matched up with Nationals’ ace Max Scherzer in an honest-to-goodness pitching duel.
“My stuff plays here, and I belong here,” Pearson told MLB.com.
Inning by inning, Pearson grew stronger, more confident with his fastball topping out at 99 mph in the fifth. He finished with five strikeouts.
“When he got out of the game, I said, ‘Hey, man, we’ve got a chance to win every five days,’” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo told MLB.com.
The hype had to do with Pearson’s meteoric rise. Baseball America has him listed as the No. 1 prospect in the Blue Jays’ organization and MLB had him eighth overall on its top 100 prospects list.
After starring at Bishop McLaughlin, Pearson went on to play at Florida International and College of Central Florida. In 2017, he was selected 28th overall by the Blue Jays.
Last year, Pearson rocketed through the team’s organizational ranks, finishing the season at AAA Buffalo.
That ultimately set the stage for Wednesday’s debut.