Do you remember “The Blind Side”, the 2009 film about NFL offensive lineman Michael Oher that starred Sandra Bullock? A pivotal scene in the movie is when Leigh Anne Tuohy — Oher’s guardian, played by Bullock — interrupts high school football practice to help Oher focus on his protection skills. The quarterback in the scene was a young local high school football player by the name of Kyle Farmer — ever heard of him? Yes, that is the same Kyle Farmer that is currently raking left-handed pitching in Major League Baseball for the Cincinnati Reds.

Farmer is currently playing shortstop but is third base eligible in most fantasy baseball leagues. He is a mediocre overall offensive player but does have one specialty in that he's a platoon hitter that loves to hit left-handed pitching. Is that enough to pick up this 20-30%-rostered player for your lineup as we head towards the fantasy playoffs?

That’s a perfect time for this question since it’s “Third Base Day” in the Fantasy Alarm Fantasy Baseball Player Spotlight Series. Every Thursday, I break down a different MLB third baseman for your fantasy baseball lineups. Some weeks it is a prospect and others it may be a “Sell High”, “Buy Low” or even totally avoid at all costs-type player. 

Today, I dig into Kyle Farmer of the Cincinnati Reds let you know if he should be a late-season pick up for playoff push in your fantasy baseball league or just left alone on the waiver wire.




Fantasy Baseball Player Spotlight: Kyle Farmer

Farmer has done it all. He helped the East Cobb (GA.) Yankees win the Connie Mack World Series in 2008 and then in 2014, the Marist High School quarterback was in the Hollywood spotlight, making his cameo appearance in a hit movie. Rather than go straight to professional baseball out of high school, Farmer went to the University of Georgia and was the starting shortstop in all but one of the 212 games in his collegiate career. He hit .290 or better each year with the Bulldogs, racking up 63 doubles along the way, and ended Farmer's run with the best career fielding percentage by a shortstop (.968).

When the Los Angeles Dodgers drafted Farmer in the eighth round of the 2013 Draft, he was told he would be moved to catcher. In his first full season at catcher, hit .310 with a .357 on-base percentage in 229 at-bats with 16 doubles, four triples and two home runs for the Great Lakes Loons. Farmer played in the Dodgers organization from 2013 to 2018 with the culmination of his early years being a 2017 walk-off hit in his major league debut on Sunday Night Baseball. He slashed a pinch-hit, two-run double in the bottom of the 11th inning to beat the Giants 3-2 and the legend of Kyle Farmer began.

Kyle Farmer 2013-2108 (Per Baseball-Reference)

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In December of 2018, the Reds and Dodgers made a blockbuster trade, with three former All-Stars (Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood- Farmer’s former UGA teammate) coming to Cincinnati in exchange for Homer Bailey and two prospects. One named that escaped media attention at the time was the fourth name acquired by Cincinnati in that trade: a 28-year-old utility player named Kyle Farmer. Within the next eight months Puig had been traded, Matt Kemp was released, and Alex Wood was dealing with major injuries. Yet, Farmer was chugging along and still is to this day. 




Farmer is now in his second season as the Reds primary shortstop, but he is still third base eligible. At first look, you'll say that Farmer has been a below-average hitter his entire career. Coming into this season, his career slash line was .254/.308/.397, and his OPS+ was 80 (roughly 20 percent worse than the league-average hitter). In his first season as the Reds’ shortstop (2021), Farmer slashed .263/.316/.416 with 16 homers (86 OPS+), but his numbers were boosted by a crazy hot run from early July to early August when he hit .396/.442/.646 with four homers and 14 RBI while keeping the Reds in the Wild Card conversation. He has followed the same path this season with a cold start and then a three-week period in June where he was one of the hottest hitters in the game where he slashed .403/.463/.639 with five doubles and four home runs over 21 days.

Kyle Farmer 2021-22 (Per Baseball-Reference)

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So, the last two seasons have been nothing special overall for Farmer except one thing- he crushes left-handed pitching.  

Kyle Farmer career left/right-handed splits (Per Baseball-Reference)

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On the advanced metrics side in 2022, Farmer currently has a .247 ISO/.369wOBA with a 47% hard contact rate against left-handed pitching. The shortstop/third baseman also has a .947 OPS in 114 at-bats against lefties compared to a .605 OPS in 263 at-bats against righties. With only a couple of weeks to go Farmer is a sneaky-good fantasy baseball pickup as he's getting the chance to bat in the middle of the lineup cleanup for a rebuilding team, and that can lead to production. In August he slashed .291/.336/.369 with a .705 overall OPS and if you see that he is facing lefty he is a near must start right now in leagues that allow daily moves.  At the moment, he is available in approximately 70% of fantasy baseball leagues and makes a nice add for a playoff run.



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