It’s “likely” the Rangers will call up left-hander Joe Palumbo from Double-A Frisco to make his major league debut Saturday, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Palumbo, who’s already on the Rangers’ 40-man roster, would serve as the 26th man in their doubleheader against the Athletics.
Palumbo is six years removed from joining the Rangers as a 30th-round pick in 2013. Since then, the 24-year-old has made an impressive climb up the Texas organization’s farm system. While Palumbo underwent Tommy John surgery in 2017, FanGraphs (No. 6), MLB.com (No. 7) and Baseball America (No. 8) each regard him as one of the Rangers’ 10 best prospects two years later. Kiley McDaniel and Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs laud Palumbo’s “timeless, rainbow curveball” and write he could develop into a No. 3-4 starter at the major league level.
So far in 2019, Palumbo has parlayed his fastball-curve-changeup mix into a 3.38 ERA/3.85 FIP with 11.55 K/9 and 4.26 BB/9 over 50 2/3 innings. It might be too optimistic to expect Palumbo to emerge as a capable big league starter right away – Grant notes he may only throw a few innings Saturday – but the need is there for playoff-contending Texas. The Rangers haven’t gotten anything out of offseason acquisition Drew Smyly, though they’re not yet willing to pull him from their starting five. However, if Palumbo shows well Saturday and Smyly’s struggles continue, the former could get a shot to join Texas’ rotation later in the season.