Updated: Feb 23, 2020
I present to you my list of the top 35 prospects within the Cardinals organization!! The list is both exhausting and ever-evolving.
I am aggressive with who I deem to be a "Graduate." You can read the post that I wrote on The Graduates by following this link. As a heads up, you won't find Lane Thomas, Ryan Helsley, Genesis Cabrera, Andrew Knizner, Rangel Ravelo, or Edmundo Sosa on The Dirty Thirty-Five (R.I.Cardinals Prospect.P to Tampa Bay Ray Randy Arozarena and Texas Ranger Adolis "JAG" Garcia).
There is also another group of about 15 prospects that I could have written about. They are on the outside looking in, currently. I did write in-depth about five of them, and I presented those fellas in this article. I also briefly touch on a bunch of other prospects in that article.
Finally, I totally cheated and basically just copied and pasted the individual write-ups from the "Position Rankings" articles that I wrote after Black Friday. I hadn't realized how thorough those write-ups were until I started to redoing the D35. I have added additional gifs and thoughts to each post, and I've done some major editing within each write-up, as well.
Please enjoy! Please have fun! Please let me know what you think!
RHP Andre Pallante
4th Round, 2019
Andre Pallante was a great fourth round draft pick in the 2019 draft. While Pallante doesn't throw nearly as hard as the Cardinals' 3rd pick Tony Locey does, he does command his entire arsenal better than Locey, and he has that "pitchability" factor that I feel like I understand, but I really don't because I'm stupid. If Pallante were left-handed, we'd be calling him crafty, if that makes sense. He certainly pitches likes he's "been there before."
There are a lot of things to like about the pedigree of Pallante, and that's without getting into what he has to offer on the mound. First, he checks two boxes that the Cardinals have been going after a lot lately: he's a Cape Cod Graduate (which they've always liked), and he is a former member of Team USA's National Team (becoming more common recently). During his Sophomore year at UC Irvine, Pallante was a unanimous All-American, and he was a finalist for the National Pitcher Of The Year Award. He's a smart young man, as well, with a developed baseball IQ centered around attacking hitters. I love that he doesn't seem to be afraid at all of going inside on righties or lefties. Before we get into the rest, here's a gif of Pallente's three main offerings (Fastball to start, followed by the slider, and finished with the changeup) working together:
Pallante's two-seamer seems to have this fantastic ability of breaking to the arm-side at just the right moment to avoid the barrel of the bat. I love the break into the hands in the gif above, and I love how he plays the slider off of it in that gif. It has good movement, but it's the moment of movement that is most impressive about it. Rumor has it that he can get that sinker into the mid to high 90's in relief, but it's more sustainable in the low 90's when starting. It'd be really nice if can keep the velocity up with it. The sinker has a tendency to flatten out when he tries to go inside on left-handers, so he's at his best against lefties when he's using it to paint the outside corner. This is fine, so long as he is locating it on the outside corner the way that he is capable.
There appears to be some argument about which one of his secondary offerings is the cream of his crop. I'd argue that, at this point, none of his off-speed offerings are consistent enough to grade substantially higher than any of the others at this point. There are times when his low-80 slider looks like a strikeout pitch, and it's definitely the pitch that he's been most consistent with for years now. It's also the pitch that did the most dominating for him in college, and it's definitely the secondary pitch that he is best known for. It's the first pitch in the gif below, and I love that he over-throws it in the gif:
There are times when his mid-70's curve really bites and dives. There are also times when it's GPS sends it right down the middle of the plate, regardless of where it was meant to go and with what shape. It's the last pitch, the pitch that freezes the batter, in the gif above. Take not of how well it works with the slider, even when he is over-throwing his slider.
Then, when the three pitches that I've already mentioned are at least averagely commanded, his changeup becomes a weapon. It won't get the swing and miss of the slider or the freezing of the curve, but it works so well with the sinker. I have to believe that his ability to use his changeup off of the two-seamer is part of the reason why that two-seamer misses the barrel so often. Then again, his success so far could be summed up, simply, as being a product of commanding two of these four pitches (sinker and slider) well above-average, with average command of his other two offerings.
There are a couple of quirky mechanics with him, for better or for worse. First, I really like how he buries his arm. It's one of those old school pitching mechanics that don't necessarily mean anything one way or the other, but it's something that I like to see. He has good front-foot timing most of the time, but it gets way out of sync when he's either trying to pump up the velocity or over-burying an off-speed pitch. One thing that really surprised me upon watching Pallante the first couple of outings is that he isn't a fast worker. I wouldn't call Pallante a slow worker, but I would say that he is "methodical", and you will be impressed by my use of the word (I'm just SO dumb).
I love how he pitches out of the windup, from a rhythm standpoint. I love how quick he is out of the glove from the stretch, but he has a weird little hitch with his lead-leg out of the stretch that is good for deception but bad for timing sometimes. Another weird thing that I've noticed, Pallante seems to let one ball each inning sail on him! I'm over-exaggerating of course, but I actually LOVE it. You keep those batters on their toes, Andre!! Kidding aside, there are a lot of moving parts in his delivery when he takes the ball from the glove (including a big leg-kick which I'm "whatever" about), and I think that's what causes him to lose command when he loses command.
One thing that you really got to like about Pallante is that he isn't afraid to throw strikes. I also admire and respect that he isn't afraid to start a hitter off with an off-speed pitch. This is something that I'd love to see more pitchers do, but I also understand that not every pitcher comes with ready-made-average command of four pitches (even if the break on those pitches lacks consistency). And that's the beauty of Pallante; he might not be the most physically gifted flame-thrower, but he is a crafty pitcher with a low floor and a loud pedigree.
If Pallante can tighten up his mechanics and continue to shape his offspeed offerings, then the Cardinals will have a fourth round steal. With his pedigree, there is a ton of reason to believe that he is capable of such tasks. I'll leave it up to you, Pallante, The Cardinals, and everyone else that is smarter than I am to decide which one of his off-speed pitches is the most sustainable. While the slider is the most consistent of the bunch, there's reason to believe that his curveball and changeup can be average-to-above offerings with more seasoning. Then again, it might be a Miles Mikolas-type situation in which it's all about the arsenal and not about an individual pitch per se.
Pallante isn't the biggest guy, but you wouldn't know it if you were just watching the way that he attacks on the mound. Look for Pallante to be pushed relatively aggressively through the organization as he enters his age 21 season.
Look at that beautiful pic by @Cardinalsgifs. I'm so grateful.
Thanks For Reading!!