Pardinho missed the opening of the 2019 season with elbow soreness that I found out about when I saw him in spring training and asked him when I’d see him pitch. Pardinho did get to the mound in late June, making a rehab outing in the GCL on June 26 and then making seven more appearances with the Lansing Lugnuts from early July to early August.
The Blue Jays gave Pardinho $1.4 million to sign out of Brazil and he was flashing a 95-mph fastball as a 16 year old, despite only being 5-foot-9. He was fast-tracked to Bluefield as a 17 year old in 2018 and he was excellent pitching against players who were generally at least three years older than him. He was on track to pitch in Lansing in 2019 but the injury delayed his season.
I saw Pardinho’s July 23rd start against Clinton (Premium Content members can read my full scouting report here) and, while I was impressed by his poise and advanced-ability to use his offspeed pitches to get batters out, I felt like his velocity was down, sitting 91-92 mph while struggling to locate it for strikes.
I actually wrote the following at the end of the scouting report, saying, ” If … he’s pitching hurt, the question arises of whether to just shut him down for the rest of the year and give him the whole off season to recover or have surgery. He’s just 18 years old, after all, and there’s no reason to rush him.”
The good news is that Pardinho is still extremely young. He just turned 19 in early January and will be on track for a 2021 return as a 20 year old. With a successful rehab, Pardinho should be able to recover all the velocity he lost and hopefully gain some conditioning that is common when guys spend a year of rehabilitation under the Florida staff’s watchful eye.
The one nitpick we might have is why the club waiting almost a year after he was showing signs of injury to have the surgery performed. Could the Pardinho have had the surgery in October? Or how about in August, when he told John Lott that an MRI had shown his ligament was “almost broken“? Or how about earlier in the year when the velocity wasn’t coming back?
Those questions aside, from what I understand, it’s the call of the player whether to do the surgery or not. Ultimately, it’s his body that’s being cut open and, while the team and the doctors can make recommendations, the choice is ultimately his. Having had some minor surgery when I was still a teenager, it’s definitely a prospect that can be scary.
The positive to take from this is that TJ surgery is generally very successful, especially with younger players who are able to recover more completely. I think that with a youngster like Pardinho, who isn’t even out of his teens, we can see what he’s really got in 2021.
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