When we started the 2019 season, one of the most hyped prospects in the Blue Jays’ system was Eric Pardinho, who just turned 18 in January of this year. He quietly put together a very encouraging campaign with the Lansing Lugnuts, and now that the Vladimir Guerrero Jr’s, Bo Bichette‘s and others of the organization have arrived, don’t be surprised if the Pardinho chatter starts picking up sooner than later.
That sounds a little absurd when we’re talking about someone who has yet to turn 19, but Pardino is another young talent that will making an MLB impact in his early 20’s. I don’t think he’ll have a chance to make his debut as a teenager, as he’s got a lot of development yet to do in the minor leagues before he’ll be ready, even if his talent will carry him a long way.
In 2019 he made seven appearances with Lansing, posting a 2.41 ERA, a 1.248 WHIP, and striking out 30 hitters against 13 walks in 33.2 innings. As far as the performance on the field was concerned, he checked off any boxes they could ask of him at this stage of his career.
Unfortunately Pardinho experienced what is all too common for pitchers as they work toward their MLB dream, hitting the sidelines with tightness in his elbow. There was a real fear that Pardinho would have to go under the knife to make things right, but thankfully some rest and rehab took care of the problem and he should be good to go when next season rolls around. Because of his age and the extra caution they’ll likely employ with the injury scare, I think the earliest we could expect Pardinho to debut would be in late 2021, and more likely in 2022. He’ll still only be 20-21 years old though, so it’s not like that will be a disappointing delay.
It looks like the Brazilian-born talented dodged a bullet this time with with elbow, but it is a good reminder that injuries play a very real part in any pitchers development, and in their ultimate ceiling as big leaguers. Hopefully Pardinho and all of the rest of the names I’m discussing in this article can have healthy careers and his their fullest potential. If they can come even close, the Blue Jays are going to be in great shape.