Eric Pardinho, one of the Blue Jays top pitching prospects, had Tommy John surgery today. Will be back in 2021.
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) February 12, 2020
The news about Reese McGuire probably will knock this story back a bit in the hearts and minds of Blue Jays fans, but as BA’s Ben Badler tweeted yesterday, Eric Pardiño, the Blue Jays 4th ranked prospect has found his 2020 season finished before it even started.
Pardiño was expected to open 2019 with Lansing after being held back in Extended, but elbow soreness delayed his arrival in the midwest until summer. When Pardiño did reach the MWL, he demonstrated a mix of pitches and feel for pitching that led him to be ranked the top Pitching prospect in the 2017 IFA class, but his velocity was consistently down.
Pardiño admitted to The Athletic’s John Lott that his UCL was almost broken after an August MRI. He was shut down for the season after he gave up 8 hits over 4.1 innings in an August 7th start.
It could reasonably asked why Pardiño simply didn’t undergo Tommy John then. The answer is more complicated than it would seem. Certainly, elbow soreness, while common among Pitchers, is not a promising sign if it goes on for an extended period, and a torn UCL certainly doesn’t bode well for the future. At the same time, the Blue Jays have shown a preference to go the rest and rehab route first – Roberto Osuna underwent PRP therapy (which ultimately proved unsuccessful) before going under the knife several years ago. The Blue Jays also probably believed that even if Pardiño had the surgery last fall, he still would be gone for all of 2020, so they (and Pardiño) opted for other treatments before going the surgical route.
If Osuna is any indication, Pardiño should come back in much better condition, with some refinements (not that many are needed) to his delivery. Rehab from the surgery takes between 12 and 15 months, with about a 90% success rate. Depending on his recovery, Pardiño should begin throwing from flat ground in about six months. He’s still young enough that even though this is a setback, there is still plenty of development time left.