Up next on our 2016 Dodgers profiles is catcher Kyle Farmer, who saw time at The Futures Game and in the Arizona Fall League in 2015 and this year is in his first big league camp.
Farmer in 10 words or less
An athletic former infielder coming into his own as catcher.
How will Farmer do in Oklahoma?
Farmer will probably start again in Double-A Tulsa, where he ended 2015. He hit .272/.311/.392 with the Drillers in 2015 but wore down down the stretch, ending the season in a 19-for-101, .188/.222/.277 slump over his final 26 games.
But he ended up performing well in the Arizona Fall League, and starting 2016 with a repeat in Double-A could see the kind of results he had with the same repeat of Class-A Rancho Cucamonga from 2014 to 2015.
The improvement wasn't only on offense. Farmer threw out 30 percent of runners in 2014 and allowed 83 stolen bases in 651 innings behind the plate. In 2015, that was down to 39 steals in 679 innings, throwing out 42 percent of runners.
Keep in mind Farmer has less than three full years of catching experience, playing infield in college at Georgia.
Minor league hitting coordinator Damon Mashore played a big role in helping Farmer last year.
"I worked with Mashore a lot during the season about getting into better position. It's just getting the hang of it and learning from my mistakes," Farmer said. "Catching really takes a toll on your body, so I just learned how to take care of my body. That helped me improve my game."
One number27 Farmer, an infielder in college played 27 games (23 starts) at third base in 2015 in addition to catching. His versatility could help smooth his path to the majors.
Farmer lived and worked out with former college teammate Alex Wood during the offseason, but that wasn't his most notable offseason note. In an homage to the backs of 1970s Topps baseball cards, Farmer has spent his offseasons as a pro delivering firewood in and around Georgia.
"I did this my first offseason. I was thinking about creating a job, and my mom, who is a real estate agent in Atlanta, said a lot of my clients need firewood," Farmer explained. "I had a few restaurants approach me for fire wood, but I couldn't do that. It was too much work."
It was the perfect job for Farmer in the offseason, allowing him to stay flexible with his schedule so he could still get his offseason workouts in.
"I have a farm in LaGrange, Georgia. My neighbor splits and cuts the trees. I buy it from him wholesale, then I put a trailer on my truck and I load up firewood and take it to the city," Farmer said. "People will pay a lot in the city, because they can't get it anywhere. I'm the leading wood provider in Atlanta."
Unfortunately for Wood, he is not equipped to get hooked up by his roommate and teammate.
"If I had a fireplace, I would have [gotten a discount on firewood], for sure," Wood joked.
Farmer was drafted in 2013, and doesn't have to be added to the 40-man roster (to be protected from being potentially lost in the Rule 5 Draft) until this November.
|2016 projections: Age 25 season|
It seems unlikely that Farmer would see major league time in 2016 with Austin Barnes third on the depth chart and ahead of him. But Farmer should be able to earn a 40-man spot by November and and could be a solid third catcher on the 40-man roster by 2017. I do think Farmer sees time at Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2016, too.