At the Park: Scouting Buck Farmer

How did Farmer look last week in two appearances?

With two appearances last week, including a showing in the Midwest League All Star game and a start after returning to regular action, James Chipman takes a look at Whitecaps hurler Buck Farmer.

Buck Farmer
23-year-old Right-handed Starting Pitcher
Class-A West Michigan
Date: 6/21/14

Performance:
6/21/14: 3 2/3 IP 4ER 4H 2BB 7K (no hits through three innings)
6/17/14 (MWL All-Star Game): 1 IP 0R 1 BB 1 K

Body: Ideal pitchers body: 6'4" 225 pounds; average muscle definition and strength throughout upper body; strong core; long strong tree trunk legs; very little physical projection remaining.

Mechanics: Drop and drive guy; falls a bit first-base side; repeated landings well; quick arm action; delivery relatively clean; average deception; 3/4 arm slot; initially kept arm slot well regardless of the offering; relatively low effort and above average command the first three innings--then the arm slot varied, mechanics weren't as sharp and effort in general escalated to medium/high resulting in overthrowing, poor command and two hit batters. For what it's worth: Farmer was throwing on short rest, as he participated in the All-Star Game just a few days prior.

Repertoire:

Fastball: 92-94 T95 manipulates movement: wiggles; also saw occasional run; flattened out a bit at highest velocity up in the zone; generates nice sinking action and was probably at its best when thrown at low 90s velocity in the lower third of the zone.

Changeup: 85-87 dives and fades. Best secondary pitch. Good feel; thrown with conviction; thrown to both right and left-handed batters; legit swing and miss offering; generates weak contact when the bat does find it.

Slider: 82-85 short with a little depth but fairly horizontal; occasional two plane break that let's you dream. Thrown to both sides of the plate for strikes and as a chase pitch; drew numerous whiffs. Unfortunately consistency varied--especially in the fourth--resulting in numerous well-barreled hits causing the bulk of the damage in the outing.

*According to teammates CB has been scrapped.

Overall
I observed noticeable development in Farmer's game last week. The velocity is sitting 2-3 mph higher than my previous observations. The consistency in the change-up has improved a bit as well too. Farmer is cool and calm on the mound, regardless of the outcome. He has an advanced feel for pitching; sequenced fairly well and even pitched backwards a few times. Average makeup. Appears to be a good teammate. Farmer holds runners well: I clocked him at 1.25 (best) and 1.39 (worst) to the plate with runner(s) aboard. Currently leading the MWL in strikeouts at a mind blowing 11.2 K/9 ratio, I do not believe Farmer sustains a ratio anywhere near that moving forward. Furthermore, nothing Farmer features besides the change-up projects to grade higher than average for me. Regardless, I still believe Farmer has a chance to be a solid MLB back-end of the rotation guy should the stars align. I could also see the stuff playing up a bit higher in a relief role at higher levels. Either way, as a fifth round selection, Farmer appears to be a solid pick with some serious potential.

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