Dodgers' Farmer continues hot hitting in AFL
Club's No. 24 prospect goes 3-for-4 with two runs scored in a loss
After playing in a career-high 120 games during the regular season, Kyle Farmer is still going strong in the Arizona Fall League.
The Dodgers' No. 24 prospect continued his strong start to the Fall League season on Monday, going 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored as Glendale fell to Mesa, 10-9, at Camelback Ranch. The multihit performance boosted Farmer's Fall League average to .360, and he's now hit safely in five of six contests for the Desert Dogs.
"I feel great," Farmer said. "The Dodgers treat me right, and so I learned a lot about myself this year and how to take care of my body."
Farmer has done nothing but hit since the Dodgers selected him in the eighth round of the 2012 Draft, but it wasn't until this past season that his prospect stock took flight. The 25-year-old catcher began the season at Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga and took advantage of the California League's hitter-friendly ballparks, batting .337/.396/.515 in 44 games for the Quakes.
After a five-game stint with Double-A Tulsa in early May, Farmer moved up to the level for good on June 12. The right-handed hitter didn't fare as well against the more advanced arms in the Texas League but still posted a very respectable .272/.311/.392 batting line in 76 games.
Overall, Farmer batted a combined .296/.343/.437 with 66 RBIs between the two levels. More significantly, he took a step forward in the power department, accruing 50 extra-base hits, including 40 doubles and seven triples, and his three home runs were one shy of his career-high.
"I worked hard in the offseason lifting weights and getting my lower half in shape," he said. "I also made a slight adjustment to my swing, and things have just taken off from there."
Farmer's breakthrough performance also earned him a trip to the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in mid-July, where he was one of two catchers to represent the U.S. squad.
"That's one thing I wanted to do my entire life, and now I can check it off my bucket list," he said.
Farmer has continued to show consistent power in the AFL, with six of his nine hits going for extra bases (1 HR, 5 2B). He also has driven in seven runs and has struck out just once in 25 at-bats. Meanwhile, Farmer's success at the plate this fall has enabled him to focus on his defense behind the plate, which continues to be a work in progress after he played shortstop exclusively in college while at the University of Georgia.
"Blocking and receiving -- that's the biggest thing this fall," he said. "Coming from shortstop, my instincts make me want to pick everything with my glove, so I'm just doing lots of drill and working on letting the ball hit me in the chest."
Farmer wasn't the only hitter to have a big game Monday, as Glendale had five players collect multiple hits in the contest.
White Sox No. 17 prospect Adam Engel went 3-for-5 with two doubles from the leadoff spot, while Dodgers prospect Jacob Scavuzzo went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs, raising his batting average to an even .500 in the process. Astros No. 5 prospect (No. 91 overall) A.J. Reed, who paced the Minor Leagues with 34 home runs during the regular season, clubbed his first Fall League homer as part of a three-hit effort.
Mesa pushed across one run over the first seven innings before putting up a three-spot in the top of the eighth to tie the game, 4-4. Rays No. 10 prospect Casey Gillaspie provided the big blow, hitting a booming two-run home run to right field with two outs in the frame. However, Glendale would reclaim the lead with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning, as Scavuzzo connected on his first Fall League home run and designated hitter Nicky Delmonico added a two-run shot.
The lead changed once again in the top of the ninth inning as Mesa erupted for six runs on seven hits. Angels prospect Chad Hinshaw -- who has seven hits in his past two games and is batting .556 in the Fall League -- tied the game with a three-run homer to left field, and Cubs No. 20 prospect Jeimer Candelario put the Solar Sox in front for good with a two-out, two-run double.