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Joe Palumbo Firsthand Report

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Taking a closer look at Frisco lefty Joe Palumbo

MLB: Texas Rangers-Media Day Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Hey, everyone. I’m Connor Pierce, and I hope a lot of you have had the chance to check out my past few reports on some Texas farmhands currently out in Frisco. This is my first report as an official LSB contributor, and I’m excited for the opportunity to continue to write these over the course of the season. As always, I appreciate any and all feedback.

Joe Palumbo is a 24-year-old left-handed pitcher currently pitching his first full campaign at the AA level and his first full season after April 2017 Tommy John surgery. He’s listed at 6’ 1’’ and 168lbs, though he looks slightly heavier and perhaps an inch shorter than what he’s listed at. Palumbo possesses a fairly average build throughout his body and doesn’t carry any visible bad weight. While his frame looks as if it has room to add some good weight, at the age of 24 he’s likely close to maxed-out. He shows solid on-mound athleticism with average explosiveness and good body control.

Palumbo throws out of a three-quarters arm slot from a modified windup. He features a methodical, fairly low-effort delivery and stays balanced and in control throughout his delivery. Palumbo works with a three-pitch mix consisting of a fastball, curveball, and changeup. He sits 91-94 with his high spin rate fastball and touches 95, and the pitch possesses solid arm-side run at times. He controls the pitch well and keeps the pitch generally in the zone, but at times he doesn’t command it well, missing his spot and leaving the fastball above his target. Palumbo throws his curveball at 75-79, and the pitch possesses two-plane action with plus depth and solid glove side break. While he currently demonstrates occasionally inconsistent feel for the pitch, it projects as a future plus secondary offering. Palumbo works in his changeup at 83-86 and the pitch features solid arm-side fade and tumble with good arm speed deception. The pitch occasionally flashes plus with better tumble and fade, and while at times he loses feel for the pitch, it should be an above-average or better secondary pitch with refinement.

Palumbo works at an average, methodical pace, and he generally remains composed throughout his outings. He consistently shows a willingness to throw both his fastball and curveball in any count, keeping opposing hitters off-balanced. When he hits his spots with his fastball and keeps his curveball down, he generates swings and misses with both of these pitches, but he runs into trouble and gives up hard contact when misses his spots up in the zone. Palumbo throws his changeup later in counts, creating swings and misses and weak contact when he keeps the pitch down and away from opposing hitters. At times, he doesn’t throw the pitch very often, and he will need to employ it more consistently for future success, especially against opposite-handed hitters. Finally, Palumbo occasionally becomes inefficient in his outings and runs his pitch count up, preventing him from working deeper into games.

Joe Palumbo currently projects as a solid #4 starter who can pitch effective innings at the back of a rotation on a competitive major league club. He should succeed if he can consistently mix his potent three-pitch arsenal to keep opposing hitters off-balanced and keep his arsenal away from the center of the plate. If he never develops better feel for his curveball and changeup and never makes any improvements to his fastball command, his arsenal could play down and would profile better in a #5 starter role or in setup relief. However, if Palumbo’s command improves more than it currently projects or one of his secondary pitches develops more quality than it currently projects, he could profile as a #3 starter or better.