Welcome back for the next article in my year-long 2021 Dynasty Baseball Profile series. I will be chronicling some lesser-known prospects that, depending on your league size, you might want to target in a trade or pick up off the waiver wire.
In between shoveling snow and salting my sidewalks with the major winter storm hitting, I have been thinking about the next player to write about.
So I sat down, poured myself a glass of Faygo Creme Soda (if you don't know what Faygo is then I am sorry), grabbed a handful of Honey Pepper Bacon Hunter Sausage and debated.
I finally came to the conclusion that I wanted to talk about one of my favorite arms that people have forgotten about because of injury, Eric Pardinho.
2021 Dynasty Baseball Profile: Eric Pardinho
July 14 Lugnuts vs Kernels. Eric Pardinho pitches 5 innings, 3 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk and 4 strikeouts. He retired the last 9 batters he faced. His ERA is now 1.93 pic.twitter.com/0jclVuuJlF
— Pardinho Pitches (@Pardinho_20) July 16, 2019
Eric Pardinho is a 20-year-old Pitcher from Brazil who is in the Toronto Blue Jays Minor League system. He was a J2 signee from the 2017 class.
He is a smaller guy as he stands just 5'10" and weighs in at 155 pounds. Pardinho underwent Tommy John surgery in February of 2020 and of course, missed the entire season. It was this injury that dropped him off the prospect radar for most fans and a lot of analysts. I, however, am still enamored with his upside and think he still has all the making of a solid Big League contributor.
He is probably most notable for appearing for the Brazilian team during the 2016 World Baseball Classic in a 10-0 victory over Pakistan. He pitched 2/3 of an inning, giving up a hit and a walk while getting a lineout and force out to end his inning. It was at this time that my eyes were glued on this kid and that has not changed. I am very excited to see him return from injury and get back on the mound where he can do some serious work.
Let's take a look at each of his tools, where they are now, and where I project them to be at his prime.
Like most pitchers, Pardinho's most important offering is his fastball. While he isn't going to blow gas past you, he sat consistently in the low 90's and could jump it into the mid 90's as needed. Once he is back to full strength from the injury it is very possible he might see a slight uptick on this pitch.
Oddly enough it has not been uncommon for pitchers coming off Tommy John surgery to return stronger than before. His command overall is just slightly better than average, but it is exceptional with his fastball. He uses it as a strikeout pitch because of how well he can locate it.
Current Grade: 60 Prime Grade: 65
Speaking of strikeout pitches, Pardinho has quite an impressive curveball at times. He can tend to lose feel on this pitch, which isn't uncommon for young pitchers. However, it is definitely his best secondary pitch. Once he gets a more consistent feel for this pitch it will truly become a lights-out pitch for him to throw in any count but especially with two strikes.
For as important as his fastball is going to be for him to become successful in the Big Leagues, the curveball is what will make or break him. If he can hone this pitch and locate it with more precision, he is going to make a powerful case to be a permanent fixture in the Blue Jays rotation down the road.
Current Grade:55 Prime Grade: 60
Typically the last pitch any young player gets a good grasp on is the changeup. Pardinho is no different. I suspect that once he gets back on the mound he will be working to make this a more serviceable pitch going forward. If he is only able to successfully get away with throwing his fastball and curve, he is no doubt destined for the bullpen. If that is the case he does not have the makings of a closer and seems destined for middle relief.
Current Grade:45 Prime Grade: 50
For what Pardinho lacks in high-end velocity he can make up for quite a bit in control. I would love to grade him higher than a 55 but until he can develop and have great control on a secondary pitch outside of his curveball I don't think you could go any higher. It is his fantastic command of the fastball that jumps this grade as high as it is. He still has a lot of work to do though. This is, however, definitely a strong point of his.
Current Grade: 55 Prime Grade 60
The injury history that Pardinho brings to the table is my biggest concern with him. Again, it doesn't help that he under 6 feet tall and just a bit over 150 pounds. He certainly does not have the prototypical frame that you would like to see on a pitcher.
His fastball should carry him far enough to give him a legitimate shot at success in the Big Leagues. If the curveball continues to develop that would give him two plus pitches. What that leaves is whether or not he can develop his changeup or another secondary pitch. He used to throw a slider but scrapped that in favor of the changeup in 2019.
Regardless, Pardinho is still young enough after these injuries that he has time to figure things out fully. With his pedigree and the success he had extremely early in his career, there is a lot of room for optimism. Unfortunately, for Pardinho fans such as myself, pitching prospects are hands down the most volatile asset in the game of Baseball. What he will become is still a story that is yet to be written. I don't know about you but I can't wait to see how it ends.
Current Grade: 50 Future Grade: 60
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