Joe Palumbo made his AA debut last night, pitching for the Frisco Roughriders against the San Antonio Ballapenos (or whatever San Antonio’s team name is — I just associate them with Ballapeno), and things went quite well for the lefty in his first taste of Texas League action. Palumbo logged 5 innings, struck out 8 of the 19 batters he faced, and allowed 1 run on 3 hits and 1 walk. Its the type of effort that has you understanding why Tepid is so enthusiastic about the 23 year old Long Island native.
Perhaps most encouraging, though, is that Palumbo joins a collection of interesting starting pitchers who have stepped into the Frisco rotation during the course of the season. 21 year old righthander Jonathan Hernandez joined the Roughriders a couple of months ago, fellow 21 year old righty Edgar Arredondo followed Hernandez from Down East to Frisco in late June, and 23 year old lefty Taylor Hearn came over to Texas at the end of July in the Keone Kela trade.
Yes, each of these pitchers has areas of concern — you’d like for Palumbo not to have missed a season-plus due to Tommy John surgery, for Arredondo to have better stuff, for Hernandez to have better command, Hearn to have a better third pitch — and no one is penciling all four into the rotation for 2019 and beyond. However, all four pitchers are guys who have a chance to start in the majors, and Hearn, Hernandez and Palumbo all appear to be potential bullpen weapons if they can’t stick in the rotation.
We have lamented, with reason, the lack of upper-level starting pitching prospects in the Rangers system for a while. With Palumbo, Hearn, Hernandez and Arredondo, however, the Rangers have a quartet of arms who could be in the mix to be in the majors at some point in 2019, and who give you reason to hope for some home grown starting pitching successes in the not-too-distant future.