Pallette to have Tommy John surgery
Arkansas right-hander Peyton Pallette will miss the 2022 season because of a UCL injury that requires Tommy John Surgery, a UA spokesperson confirmed Thursday.
It is a significant blow to the Razorbacks, as the junior was their projected Friday night starter and was being discussed as a potential first-round pick in next summer’s MLB Draft.
Pallette initially suffered an elbow injury during the final weekend of the regular season and missed the SEC and NCAA Tournaments, but it was eventually determined there was no tear and he could rehab without surgery.
A source told HawgBeat that he had completely healed from that injury and was 100 percent cleared, and this injury was recent - even though it was to the same area.
In fact, when head coach Dave Van Horn met with reporters before the start of the Fall World Series in October, he seemed encouraged by Pallette’s bullpen sessions and believed he was ready to step into the ace role in 2022.
“He seems to be 100% healthy, throwing the ball better than ever,” Van Horn said. “He’s gotten bigger and stronger. He’s really starting to look the part. He’s matured a lot physically and mentally and we’re expecting big things out of him hopefully.”
Pallette spent much of his sophomore campaign in Arkansas’ weekend rotation, with some bullpen appearances, and posted a 4.02 ERA with 67 strikeouts and 20 walks in 56 innings. That landed him a spot on the SEC All-Newcomer Team, as his freshman season was cut short by the pandemic.
Although his statistics don’t jump off the page, scouts have been salivating over the Benton, Ark., native because of his stuff. Pallette's fastball is in the upper-90s and he has elite spin rate on his curveball. Some outlets have speculated he could even be a top-10 pick.
This news means Arkansas will be without its top five and seven of its top eight pitchers from last season, in terms of innings pitched, in 2022.
With their projected ace on the shelf, the Razorbacks still have several options they could turn to, though. Senior right-hander Connor Noland is coming off an impressive fall and is the most experienced of the bunch, while sophomore right-hander Jaxon Wiggins and freshman left-hander Hagen Smith have first-round talent.
Arkansas, which is is ranked as high as No. 2 in preseason polls, is scheduled to begin practice next Friday and open the season against Illinois State on Feb. 18.