Counting down from 30, the Jays Journal has your Top 30 Blue Jays prospects this year, including who we’ve ranked at #6, Eric Pardinho.
Name: Eric Pardinho
Position: Pitcher Age: 19
Height: 5’10” Weight: 155 lbs
Throws: Right Bats: Right
Acquired: Signed with the Blue Jays during 2017-2018 international amateur draft period for $1.4 million
Hailing from Luceila, Brazil, Eric Pardinho was on a few organizations signing boards when he became eligible for the international draft. He would end up signing with the Toronto Blue Jays in July of 2017 and would make his debut a year later in 2018 with the Bluefield Blue Jays in the Appalachian Rookie League.
At just 17 years old, Pardinho would make a favorable impression with the Blue Jays brass, appearing in 11 games (all of which he started) and would craft an impressive 2.88 ERA with 64 strikeouts, 16 walks, and a 1.06 WHIP. The Blue Jays most likely had Pardinho on a strict innings limit, as he would finish the season with exactly 50.0 innings pitched, which is not really a surprise given his age and development.
The 2019 season was unfortunately riddled with injuries, as Pardinho would experience elbow tightness during spring training and would not make his season debut until late June. He would finish the season pitching in Class A with the Lansing Lugnuts, pitching to a 2.15 ERA with 35 strikeouts and a 1.22 WHIP in 37.2 innings.
Baseball Savant has Pardinho’s fastball at a 55 grade, with his velocity sitting at a 90-93 MPH range but the potential to reach 95 MPH. Given his smaller size, he uses his lower body to generate most of his power and a leg kick that tucks in towards his body before extending far down the mound towards home. Scouts have raved about his command of the fastball given his age, and he has the ability to repeat his delivery on a consistent basis with the same arm angle, which helps with the deception on his secondary pitches.
He is still in his teen years, so there is the potential to put on some more muscle over the next few years which could see his fastball gain a few more MPH (we’ll talk about why it’s not a guarantee further on).
Pardinho’s secondary go-to pitch is his curveball, which Baseball Savant gives a grade of 60, 5 points higher than his fastball. The reason for this grade is mostly attributed to the significant movement on the ball as well as the ability to locate the pitch with consistency. He is able to repeat his delivery and keep his arm angle the same as his fastball and is not afraid to throw this pitch against batters on either side of the plate.
The Brazilian native also has a slider and a work in progress changeup in his arsenal, but both of these pitches are recent additions and will need some more development before they can be considered dependable pitches.
This is where the unfortunate news comes in the article.
It was revealed just a few days ago that Pardinho has undergone Tommy John surgery and will be on the shelf for at least the 2020 season, and most likely into next season for some part.
Now, this isn’t a death sentence by any means for the right-handed pitcher, as many pitchers go through TMJ surgery and still go on to pitch in the MLB, but there is a long road to recovery for Pardinho before he steps on the mound again, let alone in the MLB.
Once the 2021 season kicks into gear, the Blue Jays brass will most certainly be cautious with his development, and it will be a few years before we can consider him being close to making the roster (if the injury does not impact his throwing ability).
If Pardinho can return from this injury and continue to throw as he did back in 2018 and 2019, locating his pitches and hopefully keeping his velocity and command in the same range, his ETA to the big leagues should be sitting around 2023, where he will be a projected middle of the rotation arm.
Wishing you all the best in your recovery Eric, and we hope to see you and your impressive stat lines next season when you’re all healed up.