Minnesota pitchers are gaining credence when it comes to the MLB draft.
Jacksonville University’s Trent Palmer, who went to Anoka High School, was selected with the 77th overall pick in the third round by the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday. He becomes the third pitcher selected in the first three rounds of the draft from the 2017 Star Tribune all-metro baseball first team.
“You can be prepared all you want, but when it happens it’s a different feeling,” Palmer said. “It was honestly a surreal moment.”
The other two pitchers from that all-metro team were Max Meyer of Woodbury, who was selected with the No. 3 overall pick out of the University of Minnesota by the Miami Marlins on Wednesday, and Sam Carlson of Burnsville, who was taken in the second round (and signed) by the Seattle Mariners in 2017.
“To all be called in the first three rounds is an awesome thing,” Palmer said. “I think the best way to describe all three of us is hard workers. We all go about our business differently, but we work hard on our craft.”
The junior righthander raised his stock significantly in the Cape Cod League last summer and at Jacksonville University this spring. He went 2-1 with a 1.30 ERA in four starts for the Dolphins before the COVID-19 pandemic halted the season March 12. He allowed only 12 hits while striking out 41 and walking five in 27 ⅔ innings for a WHIP of 0.63. Batters hit only .130 off him this year.
“He took a step forward at the Cape last summer,” MLB draft host Greg Amsinger said. “He continued that momentum this spring.”
The 6-1, 230-pounder has worked both in relief and as a starter in college. He tied the program record for strikeouts in a single game with 13 in a complete-game victory over Illinois State on March 6.
“I think taking him here you probably send him out as a starter,” MLB.com senior writer Jonathan Mayo said. “I would see if it works as a starter. I think maybe he ends up in the bullpen when it’s all said and done.”
Palmer, unlike Meyer and Carlson, was not drafted coming out of high school. Meyer was selected in the 34th round by the Twins in 2017.
“If you are not that highly regarded coming out of high school, go to college and take that next step,” Palmer said. “There are a lot of colleges where players can go and develop. It truly does not matter where you go. If you are good enough, they will find you.”
His fastball sits in the 91-to-96-mph range with good sinking action. He backs it up with a changeup and slider while his curveball serves as a fourth option.
His MLB scouting analysis says: “While not a prototype for a starting pitcher size-wise, some scouts do feel he has the chance to stick in a rotation because of his ability to maintain velocity and have a three- or four-pitch mix.”