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Blue Jays’ Eric Pardinho now the top pitching prospect in Toronto

Baseball America released their latest minor league prospect rankings, and Eric Pardinho now tops the list for pitchers in the Blue Jays’ system.

With as much offensive talent in the minor league pipeline as the Blue Jays are sporting these days, it’s easy to forget about some of the talented pitchers working their way through the system.

The Blue Jay hurler with the highest prospect ceiling would be Eric Pardinho, at least according to the latest update from Baseball America’s prospect rankings. There was quite a bit of change from a year ago, including Pardinho’s rise to fourth on the Blue Jays’ list, behind only Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Danny Jansen.

Jansen already made his MLB debut and it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that Guerrero will do the same in 2019. It’s also possible that Bichette makes the leap at some point next seat as well, although he’s a little behind the other two in terms of development. It won’t be long though, and when that happens there’s a good chance that Pardinho will vault to the top of the Blue Jays list. Considering he’s still just 17 years old, that should leave you with a lot to be excited about.

He pitched for the Rookie Ball Bluefield Blue Jays this year, making 11 starts and impressing in a short 50 inning campaign. Despite still being a teenager, the Brazilian fireballer was hardly intimidated, finishing with a 2.88 ERA, an opponent’s batting average of .199, and struck out 64 against just 16 walks.

Pardinho now ranks ahead of other talent pitching prospects such as Nate Pearson (6th), and Sean Reid-Foley (8th), despite the fact that he’s still likely several years away from pitching at the highest level. I’d be surprised if he didn’t progress through the system pretty quickly, but again, he’s still just 17 years old and has plenty of time to develop.

Despite the fact that his body hasn’t even fully matured yet, the teenager right-hander is already capable of regularly throwing in the mid-90’s. Mix in a repertoire that also includes a curveball, changeup, and slider, and the ace potential is easy enough to see, even if it’s likely at least a few seasons away.

The Blue Jays signed the Brazilian sensation to a international free agent contract before last season, handing him 1.4 million as a 16 year old. While signing a player that young can be seen as a significant risk, Pardinho looks like he has the potential to reward the scouting department in spades. They started watching his progress by the time he was 14 years old, and so far it looks like the gamble to spend on the teen sensation was a good one.

The rest of the Blue Jays’ top ten includes Jordan Groshans (#5), Kevin Smith (#7), Cavan Biggio (#9), and Miguel Hiraldo (#10) in addition to Guerrero Jr, Bichette, Jansen, Pearson, and Reid-Foley. When you include those that debuted with the Blue Jays in 2018 like Ryan Borucki and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. it’s not hard to see why Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro like the future that’s been set up in Toronto.

If all goes according to plan, Pardinho should be arriving in the big leagues around the same time the team is ready to truly compete again in the AL East, and he has a chance to be a big difference maker. I would expect that he’ll likely start the 2019 season in Low-A, so hopefully he’ll continue to impress as he continues to get the chance to face hitters that are several years older than him.

Next: Blue Jays decline club option on Solarte

So far, that hasn’t exactly been a problem for the most hyped player to ever come out of Brazil, and even if he’s a few years away from pushing for a spot in the big league rotation, don’t be surprised if you hear a lot more about him in 2019.

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