"It's a learning experience this year," the 20-year-old said prior to Tuesday's start. "I'm loving it. I'm in the process of changing up some of the things I'm doing, just struggling a little bit in game situations, but it's how baseball is -- it's a matter of inches."
Drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 13th round of the 2011 Player Draft, Palladino chose not to sign and instead attended Howard College in Texas where he developed his game. The Yankees selected him in the 5th round this June, which enabled him to remain close to his home in Bergen County, New Jersey.
Starting in eiht of his first eleven appearances, Palladino has posted a 1-2 record with a 5.14 ERA. Though he fanned 36 batters through 35 innings, he allowed an alarming 46 hits and 21 walks, bringing his WHIP ratio to 1.914 prior to Tuesday's six no-hit innings against the Brooklyn Cyclones.
"You have your ups and downs," he said. "I'm just developing everything new and since I'm learning it, it's coming through in the game situations making everything more consistent outing to outing.
"I've got to be more consistent with my command. I'm leaving more fastballs up than I should, rather than just attacking the zone and staying in the zone."
Beginning the season with a 90-96 mph fastball, a changeup, curveball and a slider, the towering righty has since substituted his slider with a cutter.
"I'm working on a cutter right now instead of the slider because the slider and curveball look too alike, so if I get more consistent with the fastball, it'll help a lot more," he said.
With the help of Staten Island pitching coach Carlos Chantres, Palladino is working on getting all of his pitches to cross the plate at or around knee level, using more of a downhill plane more consistently.
"I throw [the cutter] on the outside corner [to righties]," he said. "With my curveball, I want to be more consistent with getting it in the dirt on an 0-2 count, and getting in to the strike zone on an 0-0, 0-1 count, or something like that.
"On my fastball, I'm trying to get it in there early, but be able to hit the corners consistently, so it's just a process of developing and getting better."
Since the cutter is now a tentative pitch, Palladino believes that should it not perform to his liking, he can always re-assess his slider.
"I'm still in the process of deciding everything," he said. "If I can't throw the cutter, I'll have to go back to the slider and change up the grip."
Though his height and wingspan are a definite advantage, Palladino needs to maximize his size in his delivery in order to increase his control.
"His height is an advantage," Chantres said. "The more extension, the closer he gets to home plate. I think he's moving in the right direction. He can throw all four pitches for strikes.
"When you start tweaking some stuff to better his development, the command is going to be an issue for a bit. In the bullpens, we work on some command stuff to see if we can get it better, and honestly it has gotten better."
Palladino agrees that as he refines his delivery, finding the strike zone will become more natural.
"We're working on getting over the front side more and going through to home plate rather than falling off, and being more consistent with my arm angle," he said. "The way I've pitched is I've always had quite a few walks.
"Now at this level, when you walk those batters there's more of a chance they're going to score. And I realized that a lot of my runs are from the walks, [so] it's something I have to pick up on and develop. That's all about getting over the front side and arm angle and everything, and that's all in the process of being taught."
After a rough July in which batters hit .369 against him, August has seen significant improvement. Though the walks are still there, Palladino is leaving pitches low and in the dirt, which is preferred over high and away.
"I'm more missing in the dirt, which is a good thing, but you still get frustrated at times when you're still missing," he said. "In the past I was more of a strikeout pitcher, but I don't really know right now. I'm more focused on, rather than looking at myself, just getting it over and in the zone, and doing anything I can to get better."
To his surprise, Palladino has pitched better against lefties this season, which he accredits to his crafty off-speed pitch.
"That's actually a shocker for me," he said. "In college I struggled against lefties, but I'm throwing my changeup more, and that's been helping me get a lot of ground balls and missed swings, so I would assume it's because of me developing a better changeup, and for Carlos teaching me that.
"I throw my curveball to righties and lefties," he continued. "However, I'm a little shaky on throwing a changeup to a righty because they can see it out of your hand better and they could put it over the fence. But I can't be worried about that; I have to throw it sometimes."
As he continues to work on his delivery, Palladino clearly provides a physical dominance and is comfortable with the progress of each of his pitches.
Chantres believes that as long as he focuses on pinpointing the correct arm angle in his windup, the youngster will inevitably move up in the organization.
"When you start tweaking stuff on these kids, they start thinking about it too much, especially when they take it to the field and it affects them that way in the dugout. The last couple outings he's been missing down more, which is heading in the right direction. I'm very happy in the direction we're moving, and he's got a big future in him," Chantres concluded.
Palladino Heading In The Right Direction
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