Counting down the 20 most important Cardinals in 2023: #18 Andre Pallante

Oct 3, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Andre Pallante (53)
Oct 3, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Andre Pallante (53) / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Why is Andre Pallante important for St. Louis in 2023?

As previously stated before, the Cardinals have a lot of relief options available to them, but very few that they can for sure rely on. Pallante's ability to slide into a variety of roles for the club makes him the ultimate bullpen swiss army knife, and if he's good again in 2023, that opens up a lot of things for St. Louis.

If their long relievers struggle during the season, Pallante can be that guy for them. If a starter needs to skip a start, Pallante can fill in and give 3-5 innings. If the club only wants to carry one left-handed reliever, Pallante can be an option to shut down left-handed hitters late into ball games. If the club needs to give some off days to other relievers, they can ask Pallante to give them 2-3 innings when needed. If they need a groundball in a big spot or have some of their best late-inning relievers unavailable, Pallante is a reliable option.

You need players to know their roles in their bullpen, but having one guy that you know can pretty much do whatever you ask of him is a big advantage in this game. Pallante is not your typical reliever, and that works in the Cardinals' favor here.

What is perhaps even more intriguing is the fastball velocity that Pallante is showing this year. His fastball has touched as high as 98.8 MPH for Team Italy and he has sat in the upper 90s in those appearances. If the increase in velocity is real, Pallante could add a whole new dimension to his game. Pallante's performance at the WBC could change perceptions around him.

If Pallante takes steps back in 2023, the Cardinals lose an arm that both produces at a high-level, and fills gaps where he's needed most. Which how much uncertainty surrounds their staff in terms of injury risk and performance, the safety net of Pallante is really needed.

Where would you have Pallante ranked on this list? Tell us in the comments below and check in tomorrow for #17 on our list.

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