Though Palumbo weighed 160 pounds and threw in the mid-80s as a New York high school senior in 2013, area scout Takeshi Sakurayama liked his loose arm and signed him for $32,000 as a 30th-rounder. He didn't reach full-season ball until the end of his third pro season but began blossoming into one of the Rangers' best pitching prospects in 2016, only to succumb to Tommy John surgery in April 2017. He returned to the mound in June 2018, reclaimed his stuff and made his big league debut a year later.
Palumbo's best pitch is his 78-82 mph curveball, a plus offering with high spin rates, good depth and 11-5 break. He also features high spin on his four-seam fastball, which sits at 91-94 mph, tops out at 96 and gets on hitters quicker than they expect. He's making progress with his changeup, which he needs to do a better job of keeping right-handers in check.
Though he has a smaller frame than desired in a starter, Palumbo helps his cause with athleticism and arm speed. While he throws strikes and doesn't have much effort in his delivery, there's still concern about his long-term durability because his 97 1/3 innings last year represented a career high in seven pro seasons. A potential mid-rotation starter, he should resurface in Texas at some point in 2020.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50
Palumbo weighed just 160 pounds and threw in the mid-80s as a New York high schooler in 2013, but area scout Takeshi Sakurayama liked his loose arm and persuaded the Rangers to sign him for $32,000 as a 30th-rounder. He spent two years in Rookie ball and didn't break out until excelling as a reliever and a starter in low Class A in '16. After blowing out his elbow and requiring Tommy John surgery in April 2017, he came back last June and reclaimed his previous stuff.
Palumbo's plus downer curveball not only overmatches left-handers, but it also keeps right-handers in check. He sets it up with a low-90s fastball that reaches 96 mph and gets on hitters quicker than they anticipate. He understands the importance of using his changeup, which continues to get better and should be an average third offering.
Though he's smaller than desired for a starter, Palumbo makes up for his lack of size with arm speed and athleticism. He doesn't require a lot of effort to produce his effective arsenal, and his control and command have improved throughout his career. He located his pitches better than ever when he returned to the mound last year, adding to the belief that he can become a mid-rotation starter.
Though Palumbo weighed 160 pounds and had a mid-80s fastball as a high school senior in 2013, Rangers area scout Takeshi Sakurayama liked his loose arm and signed him for $32,000 as a 30th-rounder. He advanced slowly until breaking out in 2016, when he topped low Class A South Atlantic League relievers in strikeout rate (12.8 per nine innings) and opponent average (.198) and was no less effective when he transitioned to the rotation in late July. He was on his way to establishing himself as the system's best pitching prospect until he hurt his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery after three dominant outings in high Class A last year.
Palumbo returned to the mound this June after a 14-month layoff and showed that he can still overmatch left-handers and tie up right-handers with his plus downer curveball. He also misses bats and elicits weak contact with a low-90s fastball that peaks at 96 mph and gets on hitters quick. His changeup needs more work than his other two offerings but his willingness to use it bodes well for its development.
A bit small for a starter, Palumbo compensates with athleticism and a quick arm. His control and command were unreliable early in his career but he began to make significant progress in the last two years before he got hurt. If he can't last in the rotation, he could have a future as a seventh-inning reliever who wouldn't be limited to being a lefty specialist.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 50
Palumbo weighed 160 pounds and had an 85-86 mph fastball as a high school senior in 2013, but Rangers area scout Takeshi Sakurayama liked his loose arm and knew he wanted to turn pro. After signing for $32,000 as a 30th-rounder, Palumbo didn't reach full-season ball until September 2015 but broke out last year by leading low Class A South Atlantic League relievers in strikeouts per nine innings (12.8) and opponent average (.198). He posted a 2.37 ERA after moving into the rotation in late July, exciting the Rangers with his potential as a starter, but he went down with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery after three outings in 2017.
Texas has a number of intriguing left-handed starting pitching prospects, and Palumbo has the best breaking ball among them. He can freeze hitters with his plus downer curveball and they also have trouble dealing with his fastball, which sits at 91-94 mph and peaks at 96. He also throws an average changeup and isn't afraid to use it.
Though he's a bit small for a starter, Palumbo has an athletic delivery. His control and command were a bit scattershot before he made strides in 2016, and he cut his walk rate to 2.4 per nine innings in his seven starts after averaging 4.0 previously in his career.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45
The Rangers may have gotten a steal in the 2013 Draft when they signed Palumbo for $32,000 in the 30th round. Area scout Takeshi Sakurayama liked Palumbo's loose left arm and knew he was inclined to turn pro, so Texas was able to get the deal done. After a rocky pro debut, he has posted a 2.50 ERA over the last three seasons and led the low Class A South Atlantic League relievers in strikeout rate (12.8 per nine innings) and opponent average (.198) in 2016.
Palumbo recorded a 2.37 ERA in seven late-season starts, and the Rangers see him as a future rotation option. He has a deep enough repertoire to start as well. He usually operates at 90-95 mph with his fastball, backs it up with a curveball that grades as a plus pitch at its best and shows feel for using his average changeup.
Though he's a bit undersized at 6-foot-1 and 168 pounds, Palumbo has an athletic delivery that inspires confidence he can hold up as a starter. He'll need to throw more strikes no matter what role he winds up in, and it was an encouraging sign that he averaged 2.4 walks per nine innings in his seven starts, down from his previous career walk rate of 4.0.