Pallante may be having one of the most disappointing (and by extension surprising) 2023 seasons of any Cardinal. As a rookie, Pallante was outstanding. He proved to be a reliable reliever with the potential to start. In 108 innings in 2022, Pallante registered an ERA of 3.17. He was quietly one of baseball's best rookies. In 2023, it's been an entirely different story. Pallante's ERA has ballooned and is now sitting near 5.50. He's still not generating strikeouts, but he's now walking more hitters while also allowing harder contact more often. While this is a natural recipe for disaster, it's still surprising to see such steep regression, considering the fact that his FIP is a very respectable 4.32. In the big moments though, Pallante isn't getting it done.
Pallante's performance, particularly of late, has been bad enough that many are now questioning whether he belongs on the major league roster. Some believe he should return to the minors for additional seasoning, while others are beginning to wonder if he has any future at all. Personally, I think these takes are overblown. Pallante was and still is a solid young pitcher, however, it has become clear that he's likely not going to put up a 3.17 ERA every season!
As the 2023 season comes to a close, Pallante must prove that he's capable of being a high-leverage reliever. The team has needed help at the back of the pen for the vast majority of the season. Heading into 2024, it is crucial that they can count on Pallante for a ton of effective innings. Perhaps with a strong finish and a good spring, Pallante can move back into the depth-starter conversation. For now, though, it's vital that he minimizes walks and finds success in high-leverage situations. He has to prove that he's capable of being part of a winning bullpen in 2024.