Everyone has a different way of looking at prospects. I've always been enamored with tools and upside. I'd rather take a flier on a guy with a high ceiling and a low floor than a guy with a lower ceiling and higher floor. If I were a Major League GM, I'd swing for the fences every at-bat, which is one of the many reasons I'm not a Major League GM.
That said, I understand the value of low upside, high floor guys. Nolan Fontana, Andrew Aplin and Tyler Heineman fit the mold from last year's class, and their early success is one of the reasons last year's draft looks so good. Fontana, Aplin and Heinenman aren't going to be superstars -- they might not even start a significant amount of games for an Astros contender -- but every draft, every roster, and every farm system needs more Nolan Fontana.
All that was a long-winded intro to my Buck Farmer profile. I felt the need to write about something big picture, because there's not much to Buck Farmer. He's dominating his senior year at Georgia Tech, but he has very little projection left.
What you see is what you get. He looks exactly like a Buck Farmer should. At 6'3", 240, he has a thick lower body, which helps him maintain his velocity deep into starts. That, along with his propensity to attack the strikezone fit the classic innings-eater profile.
His repertoire consists of a minimal-movement fastball -- which sits in the low 90s and tops out around 95 -- an above average change-up (plus potential) and a fringe slider-curve combo. When he's on, he's pounding the strikezone and mixing all his pitches, evidenced by his best start this season, when he struck out 14 batters, on only 97 pitches!
I'm not a huge fan of his leg kick, or delivery in general, but Brooks' is the resident mechanics expert. He's reportedly more effective from the wind than the stretch.
Major League Floor
Major League Ceiling
Fourth starter who eats up innings and other clubhouse edibles.
Projected Draft Round
Anywhere from the third-fifth round. Whoever takes his him is going to be looking for a safe pick to mitigate the overall risk of their draft. He's going to be an easy sign, and he'll probably sign for under-slot.
Will He Sign?
This will be his third time being drafted, and he's a senior. In other words, yes.
MLB.comScouting Grades* (present/future): Fastball: 5/5 |Curve: 3/5 | Slider: 4/5 | Changeup: 5/6 | Control: 4/5 | Overall: 4/5
Rather than sign with the Milwaukee Brewers, who took Farmer in the 15th round of the 2012 Draft, Farmer returned to Georgia Tech for his senior season, and it's looking like it may have been a good move for the right-hander.
A strong, durable workhorse type, Farmer will mix four Major League average or better pitches. His fastball may top out at around 91 mph, but it seems faster thanks to an above-average changeup that's a legitimate weapon. Add in a sharp slider and a curve that shows sign of being a usable second breaking ball and you have the makings of a solid middle-of-the-rotation-type starter.
The new Draft rules led to teams taking a lot of college seniors in the early rounds a year ago, and it stands to reason it will happen again, something that could work in Farmer's favor.