Toronto Blue Jays prospect Eric Pardinho will be sidelined for the 2020 campaign after undergoing Tommy John surgery on Tuesday.
At this time last season, Eric Pardinho had been considered one of the more promising young pitchers in the Toronto Blue Jays system. He had risen to prominence during the World Baseball Classic, a 15 year old from Brazil with a fastball at touched 97 MPH and a surprisingly solid curve. However, elbow issues limited his ability to get on the mound in 2019, holding him to just 37.2 innings. On the positive side, Pardinho had managed to evade surgery, leading to the hope that he would be ready to break out this coming year.
Those hopes were dashed on Tuesday. With his elbow still hurting, Pardinho underwent Tommy John surgery, which will cost the young righty the entire 2020 campaign.
There had already been concerns as to Pardinho’s future role with the Blue Jays. Although his mechanics are considered fluid and easily repeatable, he is just 5’10” tall and weighs 155 pounds. His high octane fastball, and the stress he would need to generate that velocity, made him a prime candidate for such a procedure.
It was also thought that Pardinho could end up moving to the bullpen. In theory, by having him throw fewer innings, the Blue Jays would be able to protect his arm. With his fastball/curve combination, he could potentially become a devastating piece at the back of the bullpen, perhaps even as a closer of the future.
Nonetheless, it is easy to dream of what Pardinho could be as a starter. His 2018 campaign showed his considerable promise, as he dominated the Appalachian League. In his 50 innings, he posted a 2.88 ERA and a 1.060 WHiP, striking out 64 batters with 16 walks. He followed that performance with another strong showing in his abbreviated 2019 campaign, with a 2.15 ERA and a 1.221 WHiP, striking out 35 batters with 16 walks in 37.2 innings.
Although Pardinho has had another setback in his development, he still has plenty of time to unlock his potential. He just turned 19 years old last month, making him one of the youngest players in each league he appeared in over the past two seasons. Youth will still be on his side in 2021, when the Blue Jays get their prized prospect back on the mound.
But that time will need to wait. For now, the Toronto Blue Jays will be without Eric Pardinho for the entire 2020 campaign.