Nate Pearson’s first professional baseball season couldn’t have gone much better.

Including the playoffs, the 21-year-old right-hander posted a 0.96 ERA with 40 strikeouts in 28 innings last year. He allowed just 11 hits in 10 starts. His team, the Vancouver Canadians, won the Northwest League championship.

Afterwards, Baseball America named Pearson the fourth-best prospect in the entire Blue Jays entire system. And as he prepares for his first full season of pro baseball, he has a chance to advance his prospect stock even further.

“My goal wasn’t to get that much publicity,” Pearson said at the club’s Bobby Mattick Training Centre Saturday.

But after such a strong debut, he’s eager to continue testing himself against more advanced hitters.

“It makes you think you can do a lot of things,” he said.

The Blue Jays had high hopes for Pearson when they selected him 28th overall in last summer’s draft. They had seen him throw harder than 100 m.p.h. while pitching at the College of Central Florida, and they were intrigued by his off-speed stuff. Even then, they couldn’t have counted on results quite this encouraging.