Blue Jays: An interview with future ace, Eric Pardinho

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 29: A ball sits in a glove in the dugout prior to the game between the Chicago White Sox and the Kansas City Royals on Opening Day at Kauffman Stadium on March 29, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 29: A ball sits in a glove in the dugout prior to the game between the Chicago White Sox and the Kansas City Royals on Opening Day at Kauffman Stadium on March 29, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Blue Jays signed Eric Pardinho during the 2017-18 international signing period. Pardinho is just 17, yet he has already represented Brazil in the WBC and is the seventh ranked Blue Jays prospect according to Jays Journal recently sat down with Eric to discuss all things baseball.

**Interviewer’s note: I’d like to take a quick second and thank some people who helped during the interview process. Obviously, I’d like to thank Eric for taking the time to be interviewed while he was busy training in Tampa. I would also like to thank Caio Parente, Eric’s PR rep, for his help during the process and Diego Suarez-Garcia, for translating the initial interview questions. Now without further ado, the interview!

Jason Lee: I actually heard that you wanted to be a soccer player when you were younger, but your dad suggested baseball. What aspects of the game of baseball changed your mind?

Eric Pardinho: I played soccer when I was a child for fun, but I was good. An uncle suggested baseball as I had a good arm (from batting and throwing balls at the beach) so my father took me to the field and I loved it.

JL: Like Neymar, Coutinho, and Marcelo in football, you can be a hugely representative figure in baseball for your country. What’s the interest level like for baseball in Brazil, and do you ever feel any pressure by being deemed as the “face of baseball in Brazil” by many experts in the industry?

EP: While [the level of interest in baseball] is increasing since the MLB came down here, it still only exists at an amateur level. I really want to help to change this. Maybe when I reach a great level, I could do that. About pressure, I’m not a guy who feels pressure. I just love to play baseball and I would spend the whole year playing baseball.

JL: You were just 15 when you represented your country in the WBC qualifiers – what was that experience like?

EP: Amazing!! I was representing my country at the highest level of the WBC. By my side was Barry Larkin, LaTroy Hawkins, Steve Finley, André Rienzo and prospects like Thyago Vieira, Bo Bichette, and Bo Takahashi. It was awesome.

JL: With the huge amount of early success you’ve had, it’s easy to forget that you’re still only 17. Outside of baseball, what are your passions nowadays?

EP: For me, it’s okay because I have been accustomed to competing since I was very young. Nowadays, I love to be in my city during vacations, hanging out with my friends, playing Call of Duty, Fortnite, Fifa, and The Show. In a few days, I will visit the beach with my friends.

JL:  What convinced you to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays? Did you know anything about this organization beforehand?

EP: Toronto followed me since I was 14 when I was playing with the Brazilian national team. And when I was in the showcase in Florida, they asked to meet my father and my agent, Rafa Nieves, and we thought that the plan and program of the organization would be the best for me as a player.

JL:  Bluefield must be a lot different than Bastos. How has your transition been from Brazil to North America? What’s similar and what’s different?

EP: Actually, Bluefield is similar to Bastos – it’s a little city with a very small population. In Bastos, the population is only twenty thousand. The differences? Bastos doesn’t have big markets like Walmart or a shopping mall and restaurants like BK, McDonalds, and Applebees. Those are exclusively for the big cities in Brazil. The similarity is that both are small, quiet cities that are far from big cities.

JL: Who was your favorite baseball player growing up? And, if you could compare your pitching style to any pitcher, who would that be?

EP: Actually, I didn’t have a big idol or a favourite player. I’m not a TV guy, but I always loved Japanese baseball.

JL: What are your goals for the next few seasons? For example, do you have a timeline of when you would like to reach the MLB? Or, is there anything in your game that you would like to improve?

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EP: The objective is to always raise my level more and more while respecting the plan and program of the team. Of course, I dream of getting to the Majors as fast as possible, but I always focus on what the team thinks is best for my career. They have a lot more experience than anyone, and the main goal is to stay as long as possible in the big leagues. About improvements, as I reach a higher level, I have to make some adjusts in my game. The higher the level, the higher the level of batters.

JL: Who have been the greatest influences in your life – both baseball and in general? Would you like to take this opportunity to thank them?

EP: I am very grateful to the coaches here who taught me baseball and to the training center of the Brazilian Confederation and MLB Academy of Brazil at Yakult Facilities. They improved my game and helped me get to the level of when I signed the contract. And in general, to my parents who have always accompanied me, supported me, and are always around in good times and bad – congratulating, but also criticizing in order for me to improve.

JL: Many fans are hoping that Eric Pardinho can be the next ace in Toronto. As a Blue Jays player, you will not only be representing Brazil, but the country of Canada as well. Is there anything you would like to say to your Canadian fans?

EP: I hope that one day, I can be the ace of the Blue Jays, but all in the right time. When I signed with Toronto, I was very young, but my agent, friends, and family told me about the importance of defending Canada’s sole representation in Major League Baseball. So, I just want to say that I will always do my best, and I want to grow up and always achieve the best goals and results that is possible for the Blue Jays and at the same time, raise the Canadian and Brazilian flag on the main stage of world baseball.

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Once again, Jays Journal would like to thank Eric for taking the time to interview and wish him all the best in the future! Follow Eric on Twitter @ericpardinho!