Peyton Pallette, a pitcher at the University of Arkansas, has sustained a UCL injury that’ll require Tommy John surgery, as first reported by Kendall Rogers of D1 Baseball. That’ll obviously end Pallette’s third season in Fayetteville before it begins, with TJS procedures typically requiring a recovery timeline in the 14-16 month range.
It’s a crushing blow for the Razorbacks, as Pallette had been the expected ace of a team with legitimate national championship aspirations. It’s also a very notable development for major league teams, with the 6’1″ right-hander projecting as one of the top pitchers in the upcoming amateur draft. Earlier this week, Baseball America’s Carlos Collazo slotted Pallette as the class’ #13 overall prospect. Among college pitchers, only Tennessee’s Blake Tidwell (#12) ranked higher.
Pallette boasts a power arsenal, with Collazo writing that he typically sits in the 93-95 MPH range and has been clocked up to 99. His top secondary weapon is an impressive curveball with elite raw spin rates, while he also generates some promising arm-side action on his changeup. Pallette only made four relief appearances before the 2020 college season was canceled due to the pandemic, but he emerged as a key member of the Hogs’ starting staff last year.
Across 15 appearances (including 11 starts), Pallette worked 56 innings with a 4.02 ERA. He fanned 27.2% of opposing hitters against an 8.1% walk rate. He suffered a season-ending elbow injury last May, however, missing out on Arkansas’ run to super regionals. While it looked for a while as if he’d be able to rehab from that issue and return to the mound this season, that’ll unfortunately prove not to be the case.
It remains to be seen how significant a blow the surgery will prove to Pallette’s draft stock. Upon learning of the procedure, BA dropped him to 29th in their overall rankings. As that suggests, it’s not out of the question he still comes off the board in the first round. Last summer, the Blue Jays selected Ole Miss righty Gunnar Hoglund 19th overall, despite the fact that he’d undergone his own Tommy John procedure two months prior. Hoglund had a lengthier track record of success as a starting pitcher than Pallette has compiled, though. Perhaps a more apt reference point may be former LSU hurler Jaden Hill, selected 44th overall by the Rockies despite undergoing TJS after seven starts during his first season as a full-time rotation member.