Welcome To The Show: Kyle Farmer 2017 Debut

Welcome To The Show: Kyle Farmer 2017 Debut

Kyle Farmer: Positional Switch

Kyle Farmer had been a shortstop for as long as he could remember. Good feet, good hands, and a strong throwing arm lead him to break records at the University of Georgia for fielding percentages, both in his career at Georgia and for a single season in his senior year. He excelled at defense, but his short and stocky frame and his lack of speed inspired the Dodgers to try him out at catcher in his pre-draft workouts. The Dodgers called in the eighth round of the 2013 draft.  They told him they wanted him as a catcher, and he readily agreed.

This shift did not happen overnight. Farmer had come from four years starting at shortstop for the Georgia Bulldogs.  He played in 424 minor league games  with the Dodgers over the next four years, working on his positional change along the way up to the major leagues. The hard work paid off in late July of 2017.  Kyle Farmer got the call to pack up his bags in Oklahoma and make his way out to Los Angeles.

The First Major League Moment

July 30th, 2017.  The Dodgers faced the Giants at Chavez Ravine on a national broadcast for Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN. National broadcasts carry added weight because of the increased viewership, and especially when they involve two rival teams facing off. The pitching rotations lined up in a way that suggested a strong pitching duel between Madison Bumgarner and Hyun-Jin Ryu, and it certainly did not disappoint.

Bumgarner and Ryu matched up evenly, each spreading 5 hits and a walk with 7 strikeouts, both over 7 shutout innings. Baseball’s best pitching duels often wind up a war of attrition, with starters giving way to bullpen arm after bullpen arm. One bad day for a reliever, or sometimes just one bad pitch, can topple the competitive balance and lead a team to victory.

The starters dominated the first 7 innings, but both bullpens gave up a run in the next two innings.  The game went to extras. Brandon Morrow gave up the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th inning on an RBI single to Joe Panik. The Dodgers answered back in the bottom of the 11th.  Tie game.

Coming in Clutch

Two days prior, they had called up then-prospect Kyle Farmer as a third catcher and bench bat but had not used him to that point. With one out in the bottom of the 11th, Corey Seager doubled to right field.  Next, Justin Turner earned a walk to set up a possible double play. The pitcher’s spot was due up next, so Dave Roberts turned to Kyle Farmer.  His first major league at-bat came in a nationally televised rivalry game in extra innings, with the winning run at first base.

Farmer took two strikes to start the at-bat but laid off a few borderline pitches to work the count full.  He slapped a double down the right-field line. Seager scored, Turner scored. Farmer rounded first base and was tackled near second by the entire Dodgers dugout. It was the 11th inning and the 11th hour and Kyle Farmer got his first major league moment. His first major league postgame interview came next, abruptly interrupted by his first major league Gatorade shower.

Post Dodger Play

Farmer was part of the 2018 deal that sent Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, and Alex Wood to the Cincinnati Reds.   The Dodgers received RHP Homer Bailey, SS Jeter Downs, and RHP Josiah Gray.  Farmer now play for the Reds as an infield/outfield utility man.

Luke Raley Check-In

Since his debut on April 9th, Luke Raley has gotten some further opportunity at the big league level due to Cody Bellinger’s injury severity. Raley came in as a part of a double switch in the 6th inning against Colorado on the 14th. He drew a walk in the bottom of the sixth and picked up his first major league hit in the 8th on a double to left field. The next day he started in left field but went 0-for-4 at the plate. In the first game against the Padres in San Diego, Raley again started in left field.  This time he found some success with the bat.  He picked up couple of hits in six at-bats, including his first major league home run off of Dan Altavilla.

Luke Raley is finding footing at the major league level so far.  Dave Roberts seems willing to give him the opportunity to do so. With Gavin Lux joining Bellinger on the IL, McKinstry and Raley will be tasked with filling the gaps.



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