On Wednesday, Kevin Poppe of DST Houston announced that the Houston Astros signed right-handed pitching prospect Palmer Wenzel. The free agent went unclaimed, following the 2021 Major League Baseball Draft.
While at the University of Texas prior to the Draft, the Astros scouting department had its eyes on Wenzel, but he went unsigned, moving on to the Independent Baseball League. There, Wenzel pitched for the Missoula Paddleheads.
In 18 appearances, the right-hander posted a 4.71 ERA, striking out 28 batters in 42 innings of work. Wenzel’s number don’t look eye-catching, but his peripherals and mound approach drew the attention of scouts.
Newly signed Astros prospect, Palmer Wenzel, doesn’t pitch like the average hurler.
From walking on at a junior college to transferring to the University of Texas at San Antonio in his hometown to UT Austin, Wenzel’s journey to professional baseball was a long one.
At 25-years-old, Wenzel signs at a changing time in Major League and Minor League Baseball, and although he is on the older side of prospects, his pitching motion drew the attention of Astros scout Ryan Courville.
"“He throws from a lower slot,” Courville said. “And we were attracted to the fastball with heavy sink. We think he can compare that with his slider and changeup and have success.”"
Following his stay in Indy ball, Wenzel worked at DST Houston, maximizing his generic potential as promoted by the company. DST Houston held a professional scout day a few weeks ago, where Courville got another look at Wenzel.
The Astros liked what they saw, and Wenzel signed Wednesday.
"“He creates unique movement on the fastball,” Courville said. “It’s really heavy sink that once thrown at the bottom of the zone, he’s going to be able to get a lot of outs.”"
Off the mound, Courville believes Wenzel’s demeanor and attitude will lead to success.
"“In addition to just what he can do on the mound, I had a chance to get to know him a little bit,” Courville said. “And he’s a great kid with a strong desire to get better. So we were attracted to that as well.”"