Greetings. Here’s my latest season report on individual Cardinals for 2022. I’m making my way through the pitching staff. The purpose here is to review how the pitcher did in 2022, and what the performance can tell us about his outlook for 2023. I’ll include a season grade at the end.

Let’s get after it …

NEXT UP: Right-handed reliever-starter Andre Pallante, who had a (mostly) impressive rookie season for the Cards at age 23.

OVERVIEW: Selected in the 4th round of the 2019 MLB draft, Pallante made a quick climb to the majors, earning a spot on the Cardinals’ 2022 opening-day roster after only two seasons and 135 innings in the minors. Pallante immediately established himself as a reliable and effective presence with valuable versatility. He pitched in 47 games, making 10 starts and 37 relief appearances. Pallante had an overall of 3.17 in 108 innings.

AS A STARTER: 54.1 innings, 3.98 ERA. The Cardinals went 5-5 in Pallante’s 10 starts but didn’t produce much run support – never scoring more than two runs in a game while he was on the mound as a starter. Pallante had a rough experience in July, getting battered for a 7.85 ERA and a 1.004 opponent OPS in his first four starts that month. But Pallante had a 2.00 ERA in his other six starts in ‘2022.

AS A RELIEVER: Pallante put up a 2.35 ERA in 53.2 innings, but did allow 39 percent of inherited runners to score. His lack of strikeout pop was a problem. And he put himself into too many jams because of a high walk rate. (I’ll get into that in a minute.) But Pallante’s only bad month as a reliever came in the final month of the regular season, when he was pounded for a 5.91 ERA. And a primary reason for that was a September walk rate (11.8%) that was higher than his puny 7.8 strikeout percentage.

SERIOUS FLAW: STRIKEOUTS + WALKS. Among 140 MLB pitchers that worked at least 100 innings, Pallante ranked 128th with a strikeout rate of 16 percent. His walk rate (8.8%) ranked 105th. And his strikeout-walk ratio (1.8) was 129th among the 140 hurlers.

Pallante’s strikeout-walk difficulties were severe when he worked in relief. He had the worst strikeout-walk ratio (1.4) among the 144 relievers who pitched at least 50 innings. His walk rate (10.5%) was 115th among the 144 relievers. His strikeout rate (14.4%) was third-worst among the 144 relievers.

WHIPPED: Pallante was tagged for an average of 9.4 hits per nine innings, and he walked 3.3 per nine. That combination resulted in a 1.42 WHIP (walks-hits per inning) that ranked 117th among 140 MLB pitchers that compiled at least 100 innings.

SAVED BY THE GROUND BALL: The walks can’t be glossed over; it was an obvious hindrance. But Pallante was superb at getting ground balls. His 63.9% GB rate was No. 2 among MLB pitchers that worked 100 or more innings in 2022. Houston’s Framber Valdez led big-league pitchers last season with a 66.5% ground-ball rate. Pallante’s ground game led to 17 opponent double plays; that ranked tied for 17th among all MLB pitchers.

Pallante’s ground-ball volume also limited opponents to an average of 0.8 home runs per nine innings, tied for 20th best in the majors among 140 pitchers that threw 100+ innings.

PALLANTE: ONE OF THE BEST ROOKIE PITCHERS. In 2022 Pallante ranked 8th among major-league rookies with 108 innings pitched. Among 11 rookie pitchers that worked at least 100 innings, Pallante’s 3.17 ERA was No. 2 to Atlanta’s Spencer Strider (2.67). Pallante’s dandy 121 ERA+ was third-best among rookies that pitched a minimum 100 innings. And he ranked 12th among rookie pitchers with 1.4 WAR (Baseball Reference version.)

REVERSE SPLIT: Pallante, the righty, was tougher against left-handed batters than right-handed batters in 2022. And the difference wasn’t minor; it was dramatic.

Pitching against LH bats, Pallante allowed a slash line of .246/.284/.335. That’s a .619 OPS. Nicely done.

Pitching against RH bats, Pallante was bruised for a slash line of .295/.377/.428 which added up to a 805 OPS.

As a starting pitcher Pallante was smacked by right-handed batters for a .319 average, .375 OBP and .475 slug … and gave up 1.3 homers per nine innings.

The problem? Two of his four pitches were ineffective in encounters with right-handed batters. They hit .325 with a .439 slug against his four-seam fastball and .286 with a .536 slug against his sinker. Pallante’s most effective weapon against RHB was his slider (.236 average, .292 slug.)

CONCLUSION: All in all, Pallante had a successful rookie campaign. His 3.17 ERA was just behind Jordan Montgomery (3.11) and better than that posted by Miles Mikolas (3.29), Adam Wainwright 3.27, Steven Matz, Jack Flaherty and fellow rookie Matthew Liberatore. He was poised, composed and never seemed overheated under pressure. His ability to pitch well as a starter or reliever was a plus for manager Oli Marmol. But because Pallante is so dependent on ground balls, it can leave him vulnerable to poor batted-ball luck. He had two below-average months, July and Sept-Oct, and in both cases the batting average against him on balls in play was a significant contributing factor: .413 in July, and .350 during his 12 appearances in Sept-Oct.

Pallante throws hard, averaging 95.3 mph on his four-seam fastball and 94.9 mph on his sinker. And his best strikeout rate (29.9%) came on his curve. Given the velocity — and the offspeed (curve) that worked well against RH batters – Pallante has the arsenal to notch more strikeouts. But despite that high-velo heater, he struck out only 11.3 percent of batters faced in plate appearances that ended with a four-seamer. Pallante must become more muscular as a pitcher, and has the talent to remix and increase his strikeouts – even if it means a lower ground-ball rate.

Having a RH pitcher that can subdue LH batters is a real plus — but it’s imperative for Pallante to win a lot more battles against RH hitters in 2023. But all of that said, Pallante learned a lot in his first big-league season, and will likely take those lessons into 2023 to improve at his job. The fact that Pallante was 21 percent above the league average in pitching quality for 2022 is something we should recognize and salute.

Pallante had a short apprenticeship in the minors, and was major-league ready when the Cardinals gave him his first opportunity last year. Pallante provided a sizable boost for a bullpen that was damaged by terrible pitching from the offseason additions of Nick Wittgren, Aaron Brooks, Drew VerHagen and T.J. McFarland. In that context, Pallante absolutely was a key factor in stabilizing the pitching staff to help the team win 93 games in ‘2022. We haven’t seen Pallante at his best. That will likely happen through added experience and a cleanup of his rookie flaws. We don’t know if he Pallante will be a starter, a reliever, or move between both roles again. But he should be an asset for the second consecutive season.


Thanks for reading …


Bernie invites you to listen to his opinionated and analytical sports-talk show on 590 The Fan, KFNS-AM. It airs Monday through Thursday from 3-6 p.m. and Friday from 4-6 p.m. You can listen by streaming online or by downloading the show podcast at or the 590 app.

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All stats used here were sourced from FanGraphs, Baseball Reference, Stathead, Bill James Online, Fielding Bible, Baseball Savant, Brooks Baseball Net and Spotrac.


Bernie Miklasz
Bernie Miklasz

For the last 35 years Bernie Miklasz has entertained, enlightened, and connected with generations of St. Louis sports fans.

While best known for his voice as the lead sports columnist at the Post-Dispatch for 26 years, Bernie has also written for The Athletic, Dallas Morning News and Baltimore News American. Bernie has hosted radio shows in St. Louis, Dallas, Baltimore and Washington D.C.

Bernie, his wife Kirsten and their cats reside in the Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhood of St. Louis.