TORONTO — Eric Pardinho, a top Toronto Blue Jays pitching prospect, is experiencing mild soreness in his right elbow that will delay the start of his 2019 season. Pardinho is not currently throwing, and Blue Jays director of player development Gil Kim says the club does not yet have a timeline for when he could get back on a mound.
“He’s progressing well,” Kim said. “He’s really focusing on taking advantage of each day. We’ll continue helping him develop routines, his body, nutrition — all around helping him be the best he can be.”
The 18-year-old began experiencing symptoms early in camp, causing the Blue Jays to shut down his throwing as they conducted tests and gathered information. When minor-league seasons begin next month, Pardinho will remain in Dunedin, Fla., at extended spring training.
The Blue Jays signed Pardinho as a 16-year-old international free agent in 2017, giving the Brazilian right-hander a $1.4-million bonus. He made his professional debut a year later, posting a 2.88 ERA and 11.5 K/9 over 11 starts for the rookie ball Bluefield Blue Jays. It was an impressive showing in an aggressive assignment — only 17 at the time, Pardinho was nearly four years younger than the average player in the Appalachian League.
Listed at a slight five-foot-10, 155 lbs, Pardinho features a low-to-mid-90s fastball along with a curveball, slider, and change-up. Though relatively inexperienced as a professional, Pardinho has demonstrated advanced command of his repertoire, and pitched for Brazil as a 15-year-old at a World Baseball Classic qualifier in 2016. He’s a consensus top-10 prospect in a strong Blue Jays system and was listed as a top-100 MLB prospect by both Baseball America (No. 84) and MLB.com (No.98) going into the 2019 season.
The Blue Jays were still discussing which minor-league level would be best to start Pardinho at this season when his symptoms occurred. Either the short-season Vancouver Canadians or A-ball Lansing Lugnuts were likely options. Padinho would have been under a workload limitation regardless, considering he threw only 50 innings in 2018.