Texas Rangers: Pitching Prospect Joe Palumbo Promoted to AA
By Kenneth Nash
The Texas Rangers made an exciting move Tuesday as they promoted touted pitching prospect, Joe Palumbo, to Double-A Frisco.
Texas made a couple of minor league transactions Tuesday with pitchers that could play a big role for the big league club in the future. Yohander Mendez was promoted to Triple-A Round Rock which signals he’s on his way to Arlington come September call-ups. Additionally prospect, Joe Palumbo, was promoted from High-A Down East to Double-A Frisco. The Palumbo move is one that should excite Rangers fans considering how much he’s progressed this season.
Palumbo started out the season ranked 12th in the Rangers system by MLB Prospect Watch. After his promotion to High-A ball with the Down East Wood Ducks, Palumbo began to climb in the rankings with strong starts. Now ranked 8th by MLB Prospect Watch and 9th in our Pre-Deadline Rankings, Palumbo has seen his stock rise among the organizational brass and with fans. A former 30th round draft pick, the 23-year old lefty dealt with Tommy John surgery and missed 14 months before returning at the end of last season.
Dominating in Down East
Palumbo finished up 2017 with the Down East Wood Ducks after returning from injury. He made 3 starts throwing 13.2 innings. He posted a ridiculous 0.66 ERA and struck out 22 batters showcasing swing and miss stuff. Opponents hit just .087 against him in those 3 starts. In Rookie Ball, where he started the season, Palumbo made 3 starts, part of his transition back into the rotation. He threw just 9 innings across those 3 starts and posted an ERA of 4.00. He racked up 15 strikeouts and just 1 walk while holding opponents to .161 batting average. Following those rehab starts, he was sent to High-A where he made 6 more starts. Still managing his pitch count, he threw 27 innings and struck out 34 while walking just 6 hitters. Opponents are hitting just .226 against him in High-A this season.
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What This Means for the Rangers
Obviously it’s always a good sign when a pitching prospect begins to climb the organizational ladder. With Palumbo though, it could be a sign of some improved pitching prospect development, a field where the Rangers have struggled for years. A late round draft pick that featured a fastball in the 80’s when he graduated high school, Texas has been able to stick with the lefty through injury and is seeing their patience pay off. While Palumbo may not make it in the rotation in the big leagues, he has the stuff to be a very useful late inning reliever.
Hopefully, Palumbo isn’t a one off either. Looking at how Texas has been able to develop the New York native, gives hope that they’ll get the same kind of payoff with their top pitching prospects like Hans Crouse and Cole Winn. We’ll see how quickly Palumbo progresses through the final two rungs of the minor league ladder. In our rankings from 3 weeks ago, I had him cracking the big league team in 2020, but if the opportunity arises for him to slot into a bullpen role, he could find himself in Arlington late next season. Now Texas may continue to work him as a starter but regardless, fans should be excited that our pitching development seems to be trending upwards.