The anticipation for Palumbo’s 2019 is equally high, but for a much different reason. Winn, with a classic pitcher’s build and Player of the Year recognition to his credit, was rumored to go as high as second overall in some mock drafts. Palumbo was the 910th player selected in his draft (2013), an undersized Round 30 pick out of a Long Island high school he wasn’t even eligible to play for (due to New York transfer guidelines). Signing for $32,000 — roughly 1% of Winn’s bonus — the 6’1 lefty pitched well in varying roles his first three seasons in the Rangers system before breaking out in 2016. Pitching out of the Low-A Hickory bullpen for most of that year, he dominated South Atlantic League hitters (83 strikeouts and 26 walks in 58.1 innings, .198/.292/.278 opponents’ slash line) and earned a rotation look over the final five weeks, with tremendous results (39 strikeouts and 10 walks in 38 innings, .207/.263/.314 opponents’ slash line). Texas assigned Palumbo to High-A Down East in 2017, giving him the ball in the Wood Ducks’ first game ever and two more times after that. He had a 0.66 ERA through those three starts (.087/.160/.130 in 13.2 innings, with an extraordinary 22 strikeouts and four walks) before reporting discomfort in his elbow. A UCL tear was found, and he underwent Tommy John surgery. The southpaw was out of action until this June, when he made three rehab starts in the Rookie-level Arizona League before a return to Down East. The stuff (low-to-mid-90s velocity with a high spin rate, a wipeout curve, an effective change) had returned to pre-injury levels, and after he’d fanned 34 Carolina League hitters and walked just six in 27 innings (six starts), the Rangers gave him a season-ending look with AA Frisco. In two RoughRider starts, Palumbo allowed two runs on six hits (five singles and a double) and three walks in 9.1 frames, setting 10 down on strikes. The Rangers talk about the 24-year-old’s competitive streak as much as they do his repertoire on the mound, and he’s slated to return to AA in April on his second option, with an appearance in Arlington at some point in 2019 a reasonable bet.