Joe Palumbo start
I grew up outside Chicago. My first games were at Wrigley and I could watch Cubs games after school on WGN. There is something very cool about day baseball. So I managed to find my way to Frisco again this afternoon with my notebook and pen for some Joe Palumbo pitching, Elvis rehabbing, and another come from behind win for the Rough Riders.
Palumbo is listed as 6’1” and 180. The Rangers prospect is 24 years old, and he made his Double-A debut last year. This season has been highlighted by the pitching prospects in the organization and a lot of that talent is in Frisco. Palumbo has not disappointed.
This afternoon in some Texas heat, Palumbo threw 87 pitches to 19 batters in 4 complete innings.
By my count he threw 56 strikes and 31 balls. He gave up 5 hits, had 6 K’s and 2 BB’s as well as 2 HBP’s. Those 5 hits resulted in 2 earned runs. I gave credit to 4 “barreled” hits including an HR, 3B ,2B, and 1B.
Watching the Frisco radar gun, which is reportedly a bit slow, Palumbo’s FB clocked in 92-94, hitting 95 once. The curve was 75-79, hitting 81 once, and the changeup mostly around 83-85. Like Phillips, I think Palumbo is probably throwing a second FB that consistently sits 89-91, but I could not confirm other than looking at the variability in speeds. For this article I am grouping them all as simply FB. I felt he had pretty solid command for most his pitches. There were some conversations about called balls, that from my spot 7 rows up behind the plate looked like strikes on fastballs. He is a FB pitcher. My counts show 61 FB, 17 CB, and 9 CH.
Palumbo started the game with 12 straight FB’s. He works quickly and looks at ease on the mound. The simple windup ends up with ball really popping out.
I really tried to watch arm angle and release with my naked eye.
What I saw looked like all pitches come out of the same spot and angle, decreasing the ability of hitters to recognize pitches early. In the 87 pitches I counted 6 swings and misses. 3 FB and 3 Curves. He uses the FB in any situation and was successful moving it around. He had FB strike outs on inside, outside paint jobs, and high heat swings. The curveball looked sharp and he threw it mostly where he wanted. I think Sanchez had to block only like 4 or 5 balls at most total. Just from my viewing of the game, I wonder about maybe burying that curve more sometimes as well as the change to get some swings.
Similar to Phillips the other night, Palumbo’s misses up caused the most damage. The HR looked like a FB up and out over the plate on the 10th pitch of the AB. An AB that featured 5 consecutive FB’s, 2 curves that were weakly fouled off, then 3 straight FB’s. Again on the triple, a FB up and over the plate hit into the opposite right field gap. Other contacts were 1 FB (that a pretty nice inside pitch), and 2 curves that stayed up.
Overall Joe Palumbo looks like a pitcher that will continue to work his way up the organization.
I personally feel that Palumbo, like the other prospects in Frisco, have some fine tuning and execution they continue to develop, and they are in the right level right now for it. I think they are challenged; but have opportunities to pitch really great baseball as well. It’s a real pleasure this season to see these guys. I know we specifically think about Palumbo, Phillips, Hernandez, and Brock Burke when he returns, but not to be lost today was shut down relief pitching from Jefferson Medina, James Jones and Emmanuel Clase (another rising star perhaps?), and a beautifully inelegant misplay in LF on Preston Beck’s double that brought home the W.
So a great day of baseball, and Elvis was in the building. The Riders head to Corpus for the Memorial Day weekend but will return home next Tuesday.
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Andy Maher is a lifelong baseball fan. University of Iowa grad. Watcher of Frisco Rough Riders. Coacher of 16U players. Player of 1860’s rules baseball.