Farmer gets the call to Triple-A Oklahoma City
By Joseph W. Gex, II
May 26, 2017, 17:31
Kyle Farmer, the son of Rachel and Bryan Farmer of Atlanta, may not sound familiar to many in this area but he has roots that run deep in Hancock County.
Farmer is a member of the Gex family who has been rooted in Hancock County since the 1870s.
Farmer's mother is the former Rachel Gex who graduated from OLA in 1981. His uncle is Joe Gex (not this sportswriter), a 1982 SSC graduate, who became an All-American catcher at Ole Miss. His grandfather, Honorable Walter J. Gex, III, is the retired senior judge for the United States Federal Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. And, he is a cousin to the many Gex family members (this sportswriter included) located throughout Hancock County.
Farmer graduated from the University of Georgia in 2013 after a stellar career on the diamond for the Bulldogs.
He was drafted in the eighth round, 244th overall, by the Los Angeles Dodgers as a catcher.
Now, that may seem tremendous but Farmer's career has been one of immense hard work and dedication in the professional ranks because he had never played catcher before he became a professional.
On Tuesday, May 23rd, Farmer got the call that he was being called up to the Triple A squad in Oklahoma City.
Obviously, the call is one that he has been waiting on; however, Farmer has been on a tear this year.
He played Tuesday night for the Tulsa Drillers and was 4-for-4 at the plate with three singles and homerun and he has played both third base and catcher this year.
Farmer commented, "Working as a catcher is very taxing. First, you have the physical toll on the body which can be excruciating night in and night out. However, there is also the mental side of the game which can be even more intense. As a catcher, you have to work the pitchers. You need to know what pitches they like, what pitches are their best and what pitches are maybe not so good. It can be a mental grind. But, having great communication with the pitchers and being comfortable with them eases that grind somewhat. The mental and physical toll has been perhaps the most difficult transition for me from the college game."
Farmer also stated that there were luxuries with the professional game that perhaps were not as plentiful in the collegiate game. Farmer continued, "The easiest transition for me was the availability of information on players. You have some information that is out there in the collegiate game but not like the professional game. The information available on players is just so plentifil."
Some people may wonder why the Dodgers are playing Farmer at both third base and catcher if he was drafted as a catcher. But, the Dodgers like the depth of players in their system that can play multiple positions. Farmer added, "I am comfortable in the infield which is where I have played the majority of my time in baseball. But, switching out at third base every now and then gives the body a break both physically and mentally. It is good to do that and keep the body and mind fresh."
Farmer is currently hitting .346 with 47 hits in 136 at-bats. He has recorded 10 doubles and four homeruns while only striking out 13 times in 2017. For his professional career, he is hitting .296 with 412 hits in 1,391 at-bats, 108 doubles, 14 triples and 20 homeruns. In the field, he has a career fielding percentage of .993 at catcher and .946 at third base.
Farmer talked about his outlook at the plate, "At the professional level, you have to be able to hit the fastball. You are only going to get one good pitch during an at-bat and you have to be able to hit it. Hitting is the hardest part of the professional game. If you miss that opportunity you really have to work the pitchers hard and hope they make a mistake. At previous levels, you will probably be able to get two or maybe three good pitches during an at-bat. At this level, you have to be on time to hit it."
As stated before, Farmer has been at every level of the Dodgers organization except one.
He signed with the Dodgers on June 16, 2013. He has played at Ogden (Rookie league), Rancho Cucamonga (Advanced-A), Great Lakes (Full-A), Tulsa (Double-A), and now Oklahoma City.
Farmer stated, "It is crazy to think but this is basically a big league team. As a player, the only thing In can do is take it one day at a time and play as hard as I can. That is all I can control."
Farmer is in his fifth professional season and has progressed nicely especially taking on a new position. He followed his father, Bryan, into professional baseball.
Bryan was an All-SEC pitcher for Ole Miss before being drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 1986. He spent four seasons with the Braves organization at all levels of baseball on the mound. He tallied a 12-8 record with 100 strikeouts and a 2.80 ERA in 215 1/3 innings pitched.
The younger Farmer had one piece of advice for any young player out there with dreams of pro diamonds, "I have always been a believer and told people not to focus on just one sport. Play multiple sports so That you become more competitive and more athletic. I played multiple sports in high school before narrowing my focus in college. You have time to figure it out but right now just be competitive. Don't get caught up in the game. Trust the process and just simply work as hard as you can."
With the boys of summer hitting a groove now on the diamond, why the attention on Farmer. For Farmer and the Gex family, he got the call up on Tuesday and this Saturday through Tuesday, May 27-May 30 he will take the field at the 'Shrine on Airline' against the New Orleans Baby Cakes. For the first time in his career, he comes closer to family than he ever has before.
As Farmer talked before about being so close to The Show, he is a lot closer to it than many realize. Some say he is just a pulled muscle or a broken bone away. In reality, he is just a pitch away. Baseball is a game that can be defined by the singular pitch of a ball. And, I am going to the ballpark this weekend not just to see my cousin, Kyle Farmer and the Dodgers, play ball, I am going to see possibly that one pitch that changes a destiny. See you at the game!