Blue Jays: 3 things that can lead to World Series in 2021

Nate Pearson of the Toronto Blue Jays. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
Nate Pearson of the Toronto Blue Jays. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /
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Nate Pearson Toronto Blue Jays
Nate Pearson #24 of the Toronto Blue Jays. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

It’s year three of the Toronto Blue Jays’ competitive window, and expectations are high. The fact that we can even feasibly talk about this is cause for celebration.

Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins have gone all in on the moment, acquiring George Springer, Marcus Semien and Kirby Yates in the offseason. Anything less than a trip to the playoffs (in whatever format MLB chooses) would be a disappointment.

But these Blue Jays surely don’t have disappointment on their minds. They want to bring the World Series back to Toronto (or Buffalo, or Dunedin), and for the first time since 2016, it’s truly possible. In order for the Commissioner’s Trophy to fly north of the border, however, three things must happen.

1. Nate Pearson must become the pitcher the Blue Jays refuse to sign

For all of their investment in the team this offseason, Shapiro and Atkins have yet to pull the trigger on a top tier pitcher. Maybe it’s because they feel they already have one in-house.

Much was made of the debut of Nate Pearson last season. Sadly, the hype exceeded the performance. Pearson made only four starts before heading to the injured list with a flexor strain in his pitching arm.

Although it was a small sample size, there were some patterns that emerged from Pearson’s short stint with the Blue Jays last season. His velocity hovered around 96 m.p.h., which is still elite, but fell short of the Aroldis Chapman-like expectations that were put on him. He also had trouble keeping the ball in the ballpark, culminating in a shaky afternoon at Camden Yards where the Orioles touched him up for three home runs in four innings.

With all that being said, Pearson has limitless potential. If you had to draw a major league pitcher, it’s him. But even though the 24-year-old Floridian felt the heat last season, there may be even more pressure on him this time around.

If Shapiro and Atkins don’t bring in another elite arm to ease some of the pressure off of Hyun Jin Ryu, that responsibility will fall to Pearson. Can he be that guy? If the Blue Jays don’t make a move soon, he’ll have to be.