Oft-injured Blue Jays prospect turning himself back into a can’t-miss name

After appearing to have become the forgotten one in the Blue Jays’ system, this once-promising prospect has bounced back in a big way in 2024
Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles
Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

Life isn’t easy being an MLB prospect. One day, you could be the next star-in-the-making, the next day you could end up being the forgotten one. And then lo and behold, you suddenly become a name of significance once again. That has been exactly the case for the Toronto Blue Jays promising pitching prospect Eric Pardinho.

Pardinho was signed as an 16-year-old international prospect out of Brazil by the Blue Jays back in 2017. At the time, the deal was worth $1.4M, which was the largest amount that had ever been given to a Brazilian prospect. However, given his expected impact and potential, it was deemed great value to the Jays. 

Pardinho went on to put together two solid seasons in the Jays’ minor league system as a starter in 2018 and 2019. In doing so, he ended up being ranked as high as No. 5 among top prospects in the organization in 2019 according to MLB Pipeline. However, it was also in that very same year in which his promising career began to be beset by a rash of injuries, including elbow soreness, Tommy John surgery, as well as a series of frustrating setbacks in his rehab. 

When Pardinho finally returned to regular action in 2022, not only was he no longer deployed as a starter, he appeared to be just a shell of his former self. During both of his 2022 and 2023 seasons as a reliever, he sported an ERA above five and a WHIP above 1.60 while remaining stagnant at High-A in what supposedly would have been his sixth year of professional baseball at the time. On top of that, Pardinho had his recurring encounters with injuries (albeit more minor ones this time) over the course of the two years. Consequently, he has gone from a surefire future major leaguer to a middling prospect that may never make it anymore.

Nevertheless, Pardinho’s roller-coaster of a career has continued in 2024, with things surprisingly looking up this time around, as he has reverted to top form once again. When everyone believed he has become an afterthought, Pardinho has put together his best ever season to date with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats by posting a stellar 1.14 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, giving up just three earned runs with 32 strikeouts in just 23.2 innings pitched in 19 relief appearances. More importantly, Pardinho’s health issues appeared to be a thing of the past for him this year and is now on pace to surpass his career high in games played (35) and innings pitched in a season (56.2).

With the Jays’ bullpen having their issues in 2024, the sudden re-emergence of Pardinho has put him back on the radar as one of the organization’s can’t-miss prospects going forward. It may feel that he had been toiling with the organization for a long time, but at only 23 years of age and yet to hit his prime, he will have plenty of time still to develop and grow into a valuable piece of the Jays’ bullpen puzzle in the not-so-distant future.