This season didn’t go like most seasons. The Cardinals were terrible. I stopped writing here very much, with nothing after the blog anniversary. However, some things must go on and that includes the Exit Interview series! Now in its 12th year, it’s our look back at each player that made an appearance in a game for the St. Louis Cardinals. We’re approaching it a little different this season, a little more literary and a little less statistical, but hopefully you enjoy it just the same. As always, I am grateful that cardinalsgifs has agreed to use his talent for the header image!
Player: Andre Pallante
Stats: 4-1, 62 G, 68.0 IP, 76 H, 6 HR, 30 BB, 43 K, 4.76 ERA, 4.59 FIP, 1.559 WHIP, 0.1 bWAR
Statcast: 3.5% barrel, 19.5% sweet spot, 112.5 max exit velocity, .341 wOBA, .311 xwOBA, 14.2% K, 9.9% BB
On April 18th, Pallante was optioned to Memphis, marking the first time since he made his major league debut on Opening Day 2022 that he’d been sent down. The demotion didn’t last long–he came back up May 9 and stayed in the bigs the rest of the way–but an argument could be made that he could have used a little more time at AAA.
Even though he never started, nine of the 24 games he allowed runs in were multi-run affairs. He allowed 44% of the runners he inherited to score. Time after time it felt like a close game would become not a close game when Pallante was tasked with the job. Batters had a .954 OPS against him when the club was ahead, compared to a .687 when the team was behind. While Pallante has some skills, it felt like he was often carrying a match to the pile of gasoline that was the Cardinals’ season and, way too often, it caught.
Strangely, he was good in the high leverage situations though the club didn’t tend to use him much in those spots. He had the favor of the manager, though, and while players like James Naile might swap back and forth on the Memphis shuttle, Pallante stayed put even as he significantly regressed from his 2022 season.
What’s in store for 2024: It might not be surprising that the Cardinals released Dakota Hudson and Jake Woodford since Andre Pallante seems to be able to do what they do for cheaper. If things keep trending the way they are, he could have a higher walk rate than strikeout rate in a year or two. That said, he’s been working on a “death ball” this winter so perhaps that added wrinkle will help increase his strikeouts a bit more. No matter the case, he’s got to find some command or he’ll be following Hudson and Woodford in a couple of years.