Detroit Tigers: Taking a look at Buck Farmer’s forecast

Mar 16, 2017; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Buck Farmer (45) against the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium. The Tigers won 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 16, 2017; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Buck Farmer (45) against the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium. The Tigers won 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

In the spirit of the MLB Draft, the starting pitcher for the Detroit Tigers in the series opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Buck Farmer, was drafted in the 46th round by Atlanta back in 2009.

Detroit Tigers young pitching has impressed this year though, and a huge part of that is Buck Farmer.

Though he only has two starts this season, he has made the most of them allowing no runs through 13 innings in 2017. This is more impressive than his stints in previous season.

His growth was put to the test as he matched up with Zack Greinke.

The outcome though is not the important part.  With Farmer being 26-years-old, it is more important to look at his makeup.

That being said, his 2.1 innings of work that resulted in six runs and giving up two home runs and nine hits were not exactly reassuring.

But that is one bad outing and two good ones.

Prospects can be projected time and time again. However, until they play consistently in the Big Leagues, it is impossible to get a confident result.

For Farmer, he is against an established pitcher, and an All-Star hitter in Paul Goldschmidt.

The Mechanics

I am about to make a statement that I rarely make: I love Buck Farmer’s mechanics.

He does an excellent job keeping his weight back until he lands and needs to explode forward toward the plate.

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Farmer’s best mechanical attribute is something that cannot be taught. Or at least easily taught.  And that is his fluid arm.

The way his arm slings through is very natural, creating nice, healthy arm whip.

He also does a great job hiding the baseball from the hitter, adding to his deception.

If there is anything to say is a negative, it is the fact that during the delivery he has what is known as an “inverted W”.

That means he breaks his hands, his arms end in an shape that looks like an M.

For the record, I have no idea why it is called an inverted W, because that is an M. But if you are the first to find the flaw, you get to coin the term.

The danger in the inverted W is that it is linked to Tommy John. Personally, I don’t believe the connection is real, but there are plenty who teach that it will.

The Future

Buck Farmer was a serious value pick in the 46th round.  Especially with the mechanics and makeup he has.

In a past article, I wrote that fellow Detroit Tigers pitcher Daniel Norris has Justin Verlander potential. Let’s not go that far with Farmer.

One of the more obvious points to make about Farmer when watching him is the fact that he lives and dies with his fastball.

It is a safe bet at any point in time the heater is coming, and that is his detriment.

Not to say it isn’t working, clearly he is finding success.  But once he is around the league a bit, hitters will be able to more easily pick up on his low to mid 90s fastball.  Much like Arizona did.

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Other Pitches

Obviously he can develop other pitches.  But the problem there is that he already has them.

Farmer can feature a slider and a changeup.  But based on his fastball frequency of 65 percent, according to Fangraphs, he doesn’t have the confidence in them.

In case you were wondering, the next most used pitch is the changeup at 17.7 percent.

Frankly, the MLB is not the level to develop confidence in secondary pitches.

That means there are one of two likely scenarios for Farmer’s future.

The first is he stays a starter.  He is successful through next season, then he flames out.

The second is that he transitions into a reliable middle reliever, where being fastball dominant is encouraged.

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All in all though, Farmer will contribute to the Detroit Tigers in the immediate future. It remains to be seen if he will be able to develop the necessary confidence to stay relevant as a starting pitcher.