Detroit Tigers: Buck Farmer the Dark Horse

No, this isn’t the newest western coming to a theater near you. It’s not the name of the predicted winner of the Kentucky Derby. This dark horse is the possible fifth starter for the Detroit Tigers.

Yeah…it’s hard to believe.

At least according to CBSSports and other news outlets, Buck Farmer is still in the running for the fifth spot in the Detroit Tigers rotation.

And, Brad Ausmus has confirmed it.

Now that Daniel Norris has been officially diagnosed with three non-displaced fractures in the spinal process, the fifth spot in the rotation has one less name in the running.  This puts Matt Boyd and Shane Greene as the leaders for the fifth spot. But, coming from behind is Buck Farmer – the dark horse in the running.

According to CBSSports, Farmer is one of the three pitchers Ausmus and company are considering for this spot. Of all three pitchers, Greene, Boyd, and Farmer, Greene has been the most impressive with a 2.63 ERA in 13.2 innings. Boyd had some trouble in today’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays, so he currently has a 3.29 ERA in 13.2 innings. Farmer has pitched in 9 innings and has 3.00 ERA. Greene has 14 strikeouts, Boyd has 13, and Farmer had 9.

The competition has been a joy to watch as these three men have been pitching their hearts out for that starting spot.

Mar 18, 2016; Jupiter, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Matt Boyd (48) delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals during the game at Roger Dean Stadium. The Tigers defeated the Cardinals 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

While Greene is statistically pitching better than all three, it seems that Boyd has an edge as a lefty. The bullpen has a collection of left-handed pitchers in Justin Wilson, Kyle Ryan, and Blaine Hardy; but, the starting rotation is full of right-handers.

Seeing the news that Farmer is in the running for the fifth spot comes as a surprise. Since he has only pitched in five games and had one start, it seems like he is being prepped for time in the bullpen. Farmer had several less-than-stellar outings in 2015 ending the season with a 7.36 ERA and a WHIP of 1.736. He simply did not look ready for major league starts, which made sense considering that he did not spend much time in the minors prior to jumping into the big leagues. Remember, Farmer made his Tigers debut in 2014, after only pitching in the Single-A Midwest League. The Tigers clearly want big things from him, but he has been rushed.

Matt Boyd has had slightly more time to develop in the minor leagues. He was originally signed by the Blue Jays. Boyd pitched in their Single-A and Double-A systems before debuting with the Jays in 2015.

Neither Boyd nor Farmer have the big league experience that Greene has. Greene has 33 starts in his time with the New York Yankees and the Tigers. Farmer has seven starts and Boyd has 12.

Honestly, it is highly unlikely that Farmer will be the winning horse in the race to the starting five. If the Tigers are committed to the left hand, Greene will not be in the race either. The rumors of Kyle Lohse make the idea of Farmer finishing out the rotation even harder to believe.