The Detroit Tigers promoted pitching prospect Buck Farmer to the major league roster today. He will make his big league debut on Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Here's a quick take on Farmer and what to expect.
Buck Farmer pitched four seasons at Georgia Tech with excellent success. After a 3.63 ERA with a 44/18 K/BB in 53 innings as a freshman in 2010, he moved into the rotation in '11 and thrived, going 11-3, 2.91 with a 106/31 K/BB in 108 innings. His junior year resulted in a 3.54 ERA and a 115/37 K/BB in 107 innings, but he decided to return for his senior year after a disappointing 15th round slot in the '12 draft. This proved to be a good decision: he went 9-5, 2.78 with a 122/35 K/BB in 113 innings, moving up to the fifth round in the '13 class as one of the top seniors available.
Farmer has had no trouble with pro ball thus far. He went 10-6, 2.60 in 18 starts for West Michigan in the Low-A Midwest League this year, posting a 116/24 K/BB in 104 innings with 91 hits allowed. Recently promoted to Double-A Erie, he made two starts with an 11/4 K/BB in 12 innings, giving up 10 hits and four runs for a 3.00 ERA.
The jump to the majors is unexpected given that he was in A-ball two weeks ago, but Farmer has pitched well at every level and is renowned for his pitching instincts and polish. A 6-4, 220 pound right-hander, he was born February 20, 1991. His fastball is in the 89-93 range, averaging 91, but it plays up because he locates it well. He has an excellent change-up and has made good progress refining his curveball and slider.
He throws strikes, repeats his mechanics well, and has been very durable. Farmer's professional statistics are virtually identical to his college stats and he's shown an admirable ability to eat innings without getting hurt. Repeatable mechanics help with that, as does a strong lower half.
Rushing pitchers is usually not a good idea, but Farmer may be an exception: he is close to being a finished product. Although he's not going to turn into a number one starter, I think he has a good chance to be an above-average inning eater.