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Buck Farmer, RHP

Date Seen: 5/6/14

Where: Fifth Third Ballpark-West Michigan Whitecaps (Class A-Midwest League)

Body: Listed 6’4” 225. Looks every bit of listed height and weight. Physically maxed out, but it’s a good body. Good physicality, strong legs, good build. No bad weight, but will need to maintain conditioning so as not to become high-maintenance.

Mechanics: ¾ arm slot, will drop down occasionally to throw sliders which needs to be ironed out, strong lower half, uses lower half well, good hip rotation, consistent landing spot and consistent use of lower half, balanced delivery, a little bit of funk in the arm action which leads to deception, slight inverted-W action, arm speed is above-average, while funky and deceptive, arm action is not violent and the arm works well, repeats his mechanics well and with consistency, decent athlete, will field position solidly.

Fastball: Good pitch. Sits mostly 92-93, saw several 94’s and a couple 95’s, held velocity deep into start although command was shaky after 90 pitches, has average life down in zone with run and a bit of sink, deceptive arm action/delivery adds to fastball utility, command was solid for most of start, uses all 4 quadrants but command was better to glove side, would miss arm side when command left him, can add and subtract, would throw in full range of 90-94 to individual hitter, strike-thrower, will pound the zone, can elevate when he wants to do so, overall command profile needs refinement, but can see solid-average future.

Grade (Present/Future): 50/60

Slider: Will show 2-plane slider at best, more horizontal movement than vertical movement, but 2-plane break does exist, can throw pitch for strikes and as chase pitch out of zone, very good at commanding the pitch to glove side, sat 79-81 with pitch for the most part, touched 83, consistent arm speed to mirror fastball, will sometimes drop his arm slot when throwing the pitch, can manipulate the movement to show more vertical drop, but best pitch is 2-plane with more horizontal movement for him, will back up on him on occasion, overall above average major league potential with refinement of overall command and increased consistency with arm slot/release point

Grade (Present/Future): 50/55

Changeup: Have heard reports of plus changeup, but I see it as lagging behind other two offerings, thrown mostly 83-85 touching 86, solid velo separation from fastball (about 7-8 MPH), thrown from same arm slot and with same arm speed as fastball so it mimics the fastball well, will show some fade when commanded down in the zone, can flatten out on him at times, throws the pitch with conviction and trusts it, but not as much as his slider, could see legitimate solid-average potential here, needs to refine the command and work on consistency in terms of movement of the pitch, velo separation alone will fool A-ball hitters, but not major leaguers.

Grade (Present/Future): 40/50

Command: Overall command profile is solid average, decent athlete and repeats delivery well, funk in arm action adds deception, but inhibits command somewhat, is a strike-thrower who fills up the zone with all 3 pitches, can work both sides of the plate well right now, needs to work on keeping the ball at the knees, can elevate when he wants too, overall command is below-average right now but a little tightening up and refinement will allow it to play at potential.

Grade (Present/Future): 40/50

Overall Future Potential: Farmer is a big, durable starter in the mold of a backend, innings-eating starter. He does not have a high ceiling due to limited potential of overall arsenal and lack of a true plus pitch, but I do believe he has major-league upside. At his highest potential, he could offer 2 above-average pitches with a 3rd average pitch to go with durability and average command, which is the profile of a decent #4 starter or good #5. I think the bullpen utility is limited, because I don’t see his fastball playing up very much in shorter stints and the slider isn’t a plus pitch as it is. If bullpen becomes necessary, he could slot in as a solid 7th inning arm.

OFP: 50 (#4 starter or 7th inning reliever)