Texas Rangers Prospect Joe Palumbo Set for a Breakout Year

ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 31: The 2018 Ryder Cup Trophy Tour makes a stop at Globe Life Park in Arlington before the game between the Minnesota Twins and the Texas Rangers on August 31, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 31: The 2018 Ryder Cup Trophy Tour makes a stop at Globe Life Park in Arlington before the game between the Minnesota Twins and the Texas Rangers on August 31, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /
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The Texas Rangers have amassed pitching prospects this offseason but familiar face Joe Palumbo may be the most poised to breakout this year.

The Texas Rangers have put a focus on developing young pitching talent over the course of the past couple of seasons resulting in 7 of the club’s top 10 prospects being pitchers. While many of these young guns were acquired via draft or trade recently, familiar face within the organization, Joe Palumbo seems the pitcher most poised for a breakout season.

Palumbo clocks in at number 8 in MLB Prospect Watch’s Top 30 Rangers’ prospects climbing from the 12th spot to start the 2018 season. He already had a bit of a breakout year last year starting the season in Rookie Ball and finishing it in Double-A. While 2018 was impressive, 2019 may be the season Palumbo asserts himself on the map in the minds of Rangers fans.

Palumbo has spent over a year out of the game recovering from Tommy John surgery and returned partway through last season. In his 3 starts with the Rookie Ball team he pitched just 9 innings as he was working his way back to full starts. He looked dominant striking out 15, holding opponents to a .161 average and a sub 1.00 WHIP. He then went on to make 6 starts with High-A Down East throwing 27 innings with an impressive 2.67 ERA. Still averaging over a strike out per inning he continued to limit baserunners earning him a jump to Double-A Frisco. He finished out the year with 2 starts in Frisco throwing 9.1 innings. Another sub-1.00 WHIP and 1.93 ERA opened the eyes of many Rangers followers.

At 24 years old, Palumbo isn’t far away to hitting his pitching prime meaning he also isn’t far away from the big leagues. The 6’1″ lefty has a nasty breaking ball that gives him the ability to put away hitters and is continuing to develop into a big league strikeout pitch.

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Palumbo likely will start the 2019 season with Double-A Frisco pairing up with lefties Brock Burke, Taylor Hearn and righty Jonathan Hernandez to form an intimidating rotation for the RoughRiders. While Palumbo has taken the path less traveled to get to the show, he has shown toughness and grittiness to go from a 30th round draft pick to a top 10 prospect in the system. As a part of that rotation, Palumbo seems poised to take the next step in his development. He isn’t a flamethrower but rather relies on his stuff to get outs which is a nice change of pace from what today’s MLB has become.

If Palumbo can perform well in Double-A this season, he might get the move to Nashville but I think the Rangers may be content to keep him in Frisco and keep developing. Long-term hopes are he can remain a starter and Texas will be in no rush to get him through the system if it means ensuring he can’t stay in the rotation.

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