Tigers Scouting Report #11: Buck Farmer

You don't frequently see prospects jump from A-ball to the big leagues, and you especially don't see it from guys that weren't highly-touted prospects. But combine a run on injuries with an experienced, polished profile and you get just that - a pitcher in his first full professional season going from West Michigan in April to Detroit in August. Does Farmer have the repertoire to become a fixture?

Buck Farmer

Vitals

Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 2/20/1991 (2015 Opening Day Age: 45)
Height/Weight: 6-4/225
Bats/Throws: Left/Right
Acquired: 2013 Draft, 5th Round
Ranking History: NR (2014), #11 (2015)

Background: Drafted three times during his amateur career (once coming out of high school and twice in college), before finally inking with the Tigers as a fifth round pick following his senior season at Georgia Tech. After tossing 32 innings with Connecticut in 2013, the Tigers pushed Farmer through four levels in 2014, including making his big league debut. All told, Farmer logged 123 innings in the minor leagues, and another nine-plus innings in the big leagues, prepping him for a hefty workload in 2015.

Performance:

2014 Stats - Pitching
TEAMGGSSVIPHHRRERBBSOHBPERAWHIPW/L
West Mich 18180103.291637302411632.601.1110-5
Erie 22012.01014441103.001.171-0
Toledo 2207.1111984209.822.051-1
Detroit 4209.11221212511211.571.820-1


Scouting Report

Body: Strong, fully developed frame; thick lower half with strong legs and thick rear end; broad shoulders; good strength in upper body as well; very durable with potential to chew innings; well-conditioned; maxed out.

Delivery/Mechanics: Cleaned up mechanics since amateur days; repeats much more consistently; drop and drive guy that loses some angle from 6-foot-4 frame because of drop; drives hard to plate thanks to strong lower half; will fall off to 1B side at times; follow-through can be a bit inconsistent but this rarely impacts strike-throwing ability; uses entire body well and stays synced throughout.

Fastball: Varies FB and manipulates the ball; four-seam FB reaches 94-95 mph; must stay on top of higher velocity FB to make sure he doesn’t elevate and keeps the pitch off a singular plane; can be hittable when working up in the zone with four-seamer; two-seam heater has sink and some run on it at times and will work 90-92 mph; maintains velocity very well deep into starts; present above-average FB could find another half-tick if he moves to shorter stints in the bullpen. Grade – Present 5+/Future 5+

Slider: Slider speed moves from 80-86 mph during starts; much better pitch in 84-85 mph range with more power, tighter rotation, and ultimately sharper break; break shows two-plane ability and can miss bats; slower variety lacks effectiveness and should be avoided at all cost; still needs consistency staying with firmer slider that can dominate hitters. Grade – 5/5+

Changeup: Third pitch; lacks overall potential; can turn it over on occasion but lacks consistency; limited movement even when pitch is working properly; relies more heavily on strong arm speed that mirrors FB; show-me pitch that can help at times but won’t carry the back-end of the arsenal enough to turn a lineup over three-plus times. Grade – 4/4+

Control/Command: Strike-thrower profile that has limited command projection; works east-west better than north-south; needs to work bottom quarter of the zone impeccably to maximize angle lost from drop-and-drive delivery; fringe-command profile likely long term.

Other:Hard worker; intelligent guy that knows how to mix FB and SL for maximum effectiveness; improving ability to remain composed on the mound.



Final Word

Summary: Maxed out profile that lacks any discernable projection; Potential as sinker/slider #5 starter with two above-average offerings at peak; CH lags behind and when combined with limited command profile, the overall projection takes a bit of a hit; durable pitcher that can either log tons of innings or pitch several multi-inning outings in a week as a reliever; is what he is at this point.

Risk: Low risk; Limited upside and very polished pitcher; minimal grade jumps necessary to reach low ceiling; quickly reached MLB level.

Projection: Likely to spend the bulk of the 2015 season in Triple-A Toledo while also finding some innings at the big league level; long-term MLB role will likely hinge on need; has potential to swing from long relief to back of the rotation or pitch in the 6th/7th inning on a solid club; low ceiling player that will bounce between minor and Major Leagues.

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