Chris Woodward announced before the game on Thursday that Joe Palumbo will get the start in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader against Oakland. “He’s been throwing the ball really well,” Woodward said. “He’s thrown strikes. It’ll be a good opportunity for him.”
The Rangers drafted Palumbo in the 30th round of the 2013 June draft. The Rangers drafted him straight out of high school, from St. John the Baptist High School in West Islip, NY. In 2017, Tommy John surgery sidelined Palumbo on his left elbow and returned back to the minors in 2018.
Joe Palumbo is mostly a three-pitch pitcher. He utilizes a fastball, curveball, and changeup. His fastball isn’t electric, but it can touch to the mid-nineties in velocity. The command can be an issue for Palumbo and his heater. His curveball is a pitch that he’s been working on that can rage in the mid-seventies. Palumbo’s changeup works with mighty deception in the arm speed. A major factor in Palumbo’s success is his ability to use any pitch in any given count. Predictability is a phenomenon the Rangers got victimized on early in the season and are deviating away from according to Julio Rangel and Chris Woodward.
The @CCHooks have sent ten batters to the plate tonight.
— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOXSportsSW) June 3, 2019
This season for AA Frisco, Palumbo has made nine starts and one relief appearance. Palumbo struck out 65 hitters faced and allowed an opponent batting average of .222. In his minor league career, he’s struck out nearly 39% of batters faced. However, walks are a bug-a-boo for the southpaw. On the season, Palumbo walks 4.12 hitters per nine innings.
The task is heavy on Saturday for Palumbo as the Oakland Athletics bring out a heavy dose of right handed hitters. In 2019, the Athletics are hitting .277 against left-handed pitching (5th in MLB), and slug the second highest in MLB (.508). The script right now for the Rangers is that Palumbo makes his start on Saturday and will head back to the minors afterward, regardless of the result. A dominant and even successful start would lean toward a rotation spot quick in the future. Woodward clarified, “most likely, he’ll still go back down, but it gives us an option moving forward if something were to happen to our rotation.”
At this point, the goal is to give Palumbo a shot in the big leagues. However, the expectations for the youngster are long-term. “If it’s only one start and he goes back, great, it’s a good experience for him.” Woodward stated, “We’re not asking to take on the fifth spot for the rest of the year.” The future is bright for this organization, and fans will view it firsthand on Saturday. It’ll be a fun welcome to the Adrian Beltre ceremony that evening.
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