When you think of Rockies prospects, you think of the toolsy outfielders, or the high upside infielders, but as we break into our top 10, we have a surprising addition. The Rockies have really gone after pitching recently and it is starting to bear its fruit. While the farm is still loaded with offensive talent, Carson Palmquist is now a top 10 prospect in the Rockies system.
The former reliever turned starting pitcher proved he is a top pitching prospect in the system, in his first full season
The Rockies 2022 draft might end up becoming one of their best drafts in recent history and point toward a new era of Rockies baseball. The top part of this draft includes names like Gabe Hughes, Sterlin Thompson, Jordan Beck, Carson Palmquist and Ryan Ritter. While Hughes might have more upside as a pitcher, Palmquist has put himself into that conversation and looks like he may have been a bargain in the third round (88th overall).
"His fastball averaged around 90 mph as a starter in 2022 and topped out at 93, though he’s shown there’s a bit more velocity in shorter relief stints. It often plays better than average because of the funk and deception in his delivery. His sweeping slider is a tough look especially for left-handed hitters and he grew to rely on his low-80s changeup as a starter, showing a willingness to use it against hitters on both sides of the plate."- MLB Pipeline
MLB Pipeline had Palmquist as the 86th overall prospect heading into the 2022 draft. He was one of the most dominant relievers in college baseball in 2021 and made his move to the starting rotation in 2022. He had a really solid year in his first year as a starter, but due to his funky delivery and primary use of two pitches, many questioned if he would be destined for the bullpen in the professional ranks. He answered a lot of those questions in 2023, developing a solid changeup that helped lead him to 92.1 innings and a 3.90 ERA, on his way up to Double-A Hartford. His elite strikeout rates continued with a 13.1 K/9 and a solid 3.6 BB/9 showed that he can handle a starting job.
Palmquist will be joining the Rockies in their spring training camp this year, proving that the Rockies are confident he will make his debut sooner rather than later. 2023 was a solid year for Palmquist but 2024 will be a year that he will be able to really prove he has legit potential as a starting pitcher. He will most likely start in Double-A Hartford where, if he is successful early on, I would expect the Rockies to move him up to Triple-A for the rest of the year, before potentially making his major league debut later in the year. Palmquist has the floor of a solid reliever that can throw multiple innings and give you a funky look, but he has the ability to prove that he can be a decent number four or five starter.
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