Blue Jays 2019 Top Prospects: #4 – Eric Pardinho
The top pitcher on this year’s list of Blue Jays prospects, hurler Eric Pardinho is one of the youngest and most exciting arms to enter the organization. Though he doesn’t have a ton of professional experience, he’ll likely throw a full season in 2019 and should show the organization what he’s made of.
Name: Eric Pardinho
Position: P Age: 19
Height: 5’10” Weight: 155 lbs
Acquired: Signed as an international free agent in July 2017
Eric Pardinho, an 18-year-old hurler from Brazil, is one of the most unknown, yet mythically hyped up names in the Blue Jays organization. Despite having thrown just 50 innings of professional baseball (with the Rookie-level Bluefield Blue Jays), Pardinho is making his presence known.
“Eric is ahead of schedule,” observed Bluefield Blue Jays radio broadcaster Zach Helton. “He’ll need to work on his stamina, but he’ll do just fine with his progressions as long as he follows the Blue Jays coaches”.
On pace to start this season with one of the Blue Jays’ Class-A affiliates, Pardinho boasted an ERA of 2.88, striking out 64 and walking just 16 in 11 starts for Bluefield. On top of that, he posted a WHIP of 1.060 and was, per Fangraphs’ Marc Hulet, “perhaps the best pitcher in the advance-rookie ball league in 2018”.
Sitting comfortably in the low-90s, Pardinho’s heater, which was given an impressive 60 rating on MLB Pipeline’s scouting report, has reached as fast as 97 mph. At just 18, it could certainly speed up as he becomes more developed.
Several scouting reports have lauded his uncanny ability to repeat his delivery, with many adding that his arm action is sustainable and conducive to long-term growth. If, as Helton alludes to, he can improve his stamina, his fastball will be a force to be reckoned with as he climbs the ranks.
Considering how young he is, Pardinho’s secondary pitches are likely the last thing to be fully developed. Though he does use a curveball that, per Pipeline, is a “swing-and-miss offering”, his changeup still needs some work.
Still, his arsenal isn’t lacklustre by any stretch. Given his consistent delivery and penchant for clean and concise mechanics, the secondary pitches should continue to improve as he logs more minor-league innings.
Pardinho’s command hasn’t really been tested considering the amount of pro innings he’s thrown. That said, Helton, and several rival evaluators are encouraged by his ability to stay composed on the mound.
More from Jays Journal
- Blue Jays: Alek Manoah on pace to succeed in possible postseason
- Blue Jays: Bradley Zimmer has carved himself a valuable role
- Anthony Bass has been the shutdown reliever the Blue Jays needed
- Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. open to a long-term contract
- Blue Jays: Snapping cold streaks at the right time
“Even in his not-so-good outings, he never backed down and competed the entire time,” Helton said. “He’s always in control when he’s on the mound.”
His ability to limit walks and throw strikes will serve him well as he throws longer and more competitive seasons. As Hulet writes, “he has excellent stuff, a great delivery, and excellent poise for his age.”
It’s hard for prospects to be assigned comparables when they’re in rookie ball, and it’s even harder to truly estimate when they’ll be able to crack the major league roster. Helton, however, sees one eerily similar comparison for the young Pardinho.
“Honestly, he reminds me of Billy Wagner, who actually grew up not far from Bluefield,” he told Jays Journal. “Both were/are considered undersized but use their leverage to throw a heavy ball and are both very competitive on the hill.”
Wagner, of course, had an outstanding major league career that spanned 16 seasons and featured seven All-Star appearances and eight seasons of 30 or more saves. Additionally, Wagner’s career ERA was a stellar 2.31 and he received minor Hall of Fame consideration since first appearing on the ballot in 2014.
Fangraphs and Pipeline both give him an ETA of 2021, meaning he’ll spend the next two years at various levels of minor league competition. Though he could in theory beat that projection, it’ll be good for him to get in some more reps in the minor leagues.