Farmer graduated from Marist High School where he was both a quarterback and shortstop. He hit .545-12-52 in 2009, his senior year.
Kyle then accepted a baseball scholarship to the University of Georgia, where he was a teammate of Dodger lefty Alex Wood.
Farmer's uncles Randy Metz (Georgia, 1982-83) and Joe Gex (Ole Miss, 1984-87) played college baseball while his father was an All-SEC pitcher at Ole Miss (1982-86). He was on the 1982 SEC Championship team and still holds the Rebels Career Records for Innings Pitched (330.2), Starts (61) and ranks fourth in Wins (24).
In 2013, Farmer got drafted by the Dodgers (see Transactions below).
In 2015, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Farmer as the 30th best prospect in the Dodgers organization. He was at #29 in 2016. They had Kyle at #23 in 2018.
In 2015, Farmer was selected by the Dodgers to play in the Futures Game.
Kyle's first Major League hit, a two-run double in the 11th inning, delivered the Dodgers a 3-2 comeback win over the Giants at Dodger Stadium. It was the team's 31st come-from-behind victory of the 2017 season.
The Dodgers called up Farmer on July 28, 2017, from Triple-A Oklahoma City to give the club an extra bench player. The 26-year-old became the first Dodgers player since Darren Dreifort on May 27, 1994, to have his first career hit be a walk-off knock.
"I told him, joking, in like the seventh or eighth inning," said Enrique Hernandez, "I was like 'Dude this game has Kyle Farmer written all over it. You're going to win this game.' And [Farmer] looked at me and said, 'I know.'"
Dave Roberts: "Kyle's going to remember that for a long time. For his family to be here, to get the field stormed on by his teammates, coaches, managers. It was something that was just so special." (Thornton - mlb.com - 7/30/17)
Kyle shared a Chase Utley anecdote that explained just how little the Dodgers trusted their third-string catcher behind the plate in 2017.
"I was definitely the last, last resort," Farmer said. "We were in New York, and Yasmani Grandal was hurt, Austin Barnes got hit on the hand and they were, like, surrounding me and telling me what to do. And then I heard Chase was back in the batting cage trying on catcher's gear. Like, that's great. But I think they've become more comfortable with it."
To better himself for catching, he's made his hips more flexible, not only to better frame marginal pitches but to smother those in the dirt.
"Last year, blocking [pitches] was a struggle for me," Farmer said. "Last year I was worried about them throwing in the dirt. Now [in Spring Training 2018] I'm, like, begging them to throw it in the dirt. And they're seeing me become more comfortable with the pitching staff." (Grunick - mlb.com - 3/18/18)
August 8, 2019: The last thing the Reds wanted to see during the start of a critical four-game series against the Cubs was a rout that required manager David Bell to turn to a position player to pitch. But during the eighth inning of a 12-5 Chicago win over Cincinnati, after David Hernandez gave up five runs in 1 2/3 innings, Bell walked to the mound and walked right past the reliever to his second baseman, Kyle Farmer, and asked if he could pitch. Farmer, a utility player, had started the game at catcher.
“You never really want to be in that situation as a team, but I guess it was a smart move to save the bullpen for the rest of the big weekend we have ahead of us,” Farmer said. “I haven’t pitched since my senior year of high school. I threw a little harder in high school and had a pretty good curveball, too, but it was a fun experience."
Both teams appeared to have fun with the situation as Farmer tossed slow curveballs that did not even register on the radar gun. (Mark Sheldon and Jordan Bastian - MLB.com)
Long before you ever saw Kyle step on a big league field, you probably saw him on the big screen. Farmer had a cameo as a quarterback in the 2009 film, "The Blind Side."
Why did the then-high school athlete get the part? "They needed someone who could throw,” Farmer told True Blue LA's Eric Stephen. (Clair - mlb.com - 5/17/2020)
In 2020, Farmer had the best batting average on the team. That’s nothing to brag about per say, as last year’s team hit for .212 collectively. However, Farmer’s .266 batting average was the best among players with at least 50 plate appearances.
While Farmer was ineffective against righthanded pitching (.478 OPS), the 30-year-old flat-out destroyed southpaws. Against lefties, Farmer slashed .400/.423/.480. Farmer made adjustments to his swing over the offseason that may help him in his bid to be the team’s everyday shortstop.
Sept 7, 2021: It could have been a dangerous play, and Reds shortstop Kyle Farmer knew it as he ran back for a popup off the bat of the Cubs' Frank Schwindel in the eighth inning. The one-out ball was drifting toward short left-center field between Farmer, left fielder Tyler Naquin and center fielder Delino DeShields—a sort of no-man’s land. Farmer made a spectacular over-the-shoulder catch before falling and landing on his back. It was a huge play in Cincinnati’s 4-3 win over the Cubs, but it meant much more to Farmer.
“There is a back-story behind that play. It goes back to college. It’s a very sad story,” Farmer said. In 2011, while playing shortstop for the University of Georgia, Farmer saw a fly ball hit to a similar spot between himself, center fielder Zach Cone and left fielder Johnathan Taylor. It was Taylor who attempted a diving catch.
“I was going out for that same exact fly ball and the two guys collided,” Farmer recalled. “J.T.’s head hit Cone’s hip and he’s paralyzed still to this day from the neck down from it. Those plays, that play, whenever that ball is hit in the air, I have flashbacks from it.”
Farmer felt like he could block out that painful memory and he was grateful he could make that catch.
“I grew up playing with J.T. and Zach since we were like 10, so I knew them really well. That play right there means a lot to make,” Farmer said. “I kind of overcame a big step mentally there. It was difficult, physically and mentally.”
At the time of the catch, the Reds had a 4-2 lead after Rafael Ortega’s leadoff homer in the eighth against Michael Lorenzen. Following the catch to rob Schwindel, Ian Happ hit a two-out solo homer off Lorenzen. Had Schwindel reached, Happ’s homer would have tied the game.
“A lot of us in the clubhouse were saying one of the best we’ve seen,” Reds manager David Bell said of Farmer's catch. “To the eye, it’s pretty obvious that was a great play. What goes into that and what’s going through your head as you’re running back for a ball, not really knowing what’s there, just trusting it and knowing where he is on the field and that awareness, and then finishing off the play -- just a great play. It definitely needs to be recognized.”
After Farmer secured the ball, he was on his back for a couple of beats before getting up and returning the ball to an appreciative Lorenzen.
“You don’t really know where the center fielder is or the left fielder is. It’s kind of like a do-or-die play and you just have to trust your instincts and go for it,” Farmer said. “It’s tough, but I just had to overcome it.” (M Sheldon - MLB.com - Sept 8, 2021)
Sept 10-13, 2021: Kyle was on the paternity list. Courtney and Kyle celebrated the birth of their son, McCoy James Farmer.
2021 Season: After a couple of seasons with the Reds as a utility player assured nothing but a chance to compete for his roster spot each spring, Kyle Farmer moved into a regular role as their shortstop this past season in 2021. But becoming an everyday player in 2021 hasn’t changed the fact that Farmer will have to battle again at camp for his position in 2022.
“It won’t stop me from competing and getting the spot,” Farmer said. “I’ve spent my whole career just competing, but it makes me a better player. I feel like if I was given something, I would just be lackadaisical. If it’s not given to me, I’ll earn it.”
Farmer established Reds’ single-season records for shortstops with the fewest errors, five, at shortstop and with a .988 fielding percentage. According to Fangraphs, he was worth 1.6 WAR and had one defensive run saved. Basically, he made all of the routine plays but could also dazzle with excellent ones that tested his range.
Farmer, 31, batted .263/.316/.416 and set career highs with 16 home runs, 63 RBIs and 147 games. (M Sheldon - MLB.com - Oct 20, 2021)
"Game Changer" for Farmer- In 2021 he stated: “I was struggling, I was in a bad headspace,”
Farmer said. “Terrmel Sledge came up to me and said, ‘Have you ever heard of the Law of
Attraction? I want you to go home and study it.’ "Then, Farmer researched it and read, “What you
see in your mind, you will hold in your hand. If you put it out in the universe, you’ll see it.’” Farmer
begins to keep a journal filled with words of advice, quotes about life and reminders for himself.
The last page of the book has a detailed diagram of how Farmer’s swing should look, complete
with a cartoon illustration of Farmer’s hands and the instruction to “SMELL THE BALL,” which is
written in all-caps and underlined twice. On April 27, 2021 crediting his success to his journal,
Farmer became the first Reds batter since 1990 to hit four doubles in a single game.
When Farmer was in high school, his head coach, Mike Strickland, gave him the advice to jot down notes that he could share with the next generation. Now, Farmer has a son, McCoy, and he plans to pass the journal down to him.
“I want to leave something very personal behind for him,” Farmer said. “If McCoy wants to play baseball, he can go back and read about the struggles that I went through and the stuff that got me to where I am. If he doesn’t play baseball, he can read it and use it in his life.” (Charlie Goldsmith- Cincinnati Enquirer - May 10, 2022)
June 2013: The Dodgers made Farmer their 8th round pick, out of the Univ. of Georgia. He signed via scout Lon Joyce for just $40,000.
Farmer was a four-year starter at shortstop for Georgia, but the Dodgers immediately put him behind the plate.
Dec 21, 2018: The Dodgers traded RF Yasiel Puig, LF Matt Kemp, LHP Alex Wood, C Kyle Farmer and cash to the Reds; acquiring RHP Homer Bailey, RHP Josiah Gray, and SS Jeter Downs.
- Dec 2, 2020: The Reds re-signed free agent Farmer to a one-year deal.
|Birth City:||Atlanta, GA|
|Draft:||Dodgers #8 - 2013 - Out of Univ. of Georgia|
Offensively, Farmer stood out most for his ability to work counts and his ability to drive the ball with gap power once he gained an advantage. (Spring, 2015).
Farmer showed good bat-to-ball skills in 2014 at low Class A Great Lakes, where he rarely struck out, though his whiff rate spiked and overall production dropped precipitously once he got to High Class A Rancho Cucamonga in June, a red flag for a player who turned 24 before the season ended.
Farmer has good pitch recognition, but he doesn't walk a ton, and his well-below-average power makes him mostly a gap hitter.
Kyle has a simple swing, doesn't strike out much and hits line drives to all fields. (Spring 2016)
Farmer worked on a more powerful swing while on the D.L. with a broken wrist in June and July, 2016.
"[My new swing] is more about the lower half," Farmer said. "It's more about going to the ball and using your legs rather sitting on your back leg. If you watch Pederson, he really gets moving and he really gets all of his momentum going forward. I wasn't using that to my full potential, so he was trying to help me out and show me things to get to my full potential. He hits the ball really hard and a really long ways. Me and Joc (Pederson) and (Damon) Mashore just sat in the cage and went over some things. It's helped me out a lot, and I can't thank him and Mashore enough."
Kyle's father is his off-season hitting coach.
Farmer has good strike zone awareness. His compact righthanded stroke provide a lot of contact for line-drives. (Spring, 2018)
- As of the start of the 2021 season, Kyle's career batting average is .242, with 9 home runs and 42 RBI in 335 at-bats.
Kyle was drafted by the Dodgers as a catcher. He had played shortstop for the University of Georgia. And like many range-challenged Dodgers infielders of the past decade, such as Russell Martin and Carlos Santana, the organization thought Farmer had a chance to be a productive catcher. His work in 2014 in their Midwest League reinforced that belief.
Farmer has a very strong arm, along with quick feet, though he could shorten his arm stroke. He has the hands to catch, but his receiving and blocking are raw. Farmer projects as a backup catcher. (Spring 2015)
In 2013, Kyle threw out 39.5 percent of base-stealers in the Pioneer League.
In 2014, Farmer nailed 32 percent of MWL base-thieves.
In 2015, Farmer threw out 42 percent of base-stealers which he finished at Double-A Tulsa. Farmer is athletic for a catcher, but his blocking and receiving need to improve. He also made 23 starts at third base, keeping his infield ability fresh.
By 2018, Kyle's hard work had enabled him to be a solid defensive catcher with quick feet and agility.
Kyle had logged nearly 2,800 innings of 331 Minor League games as a catcher, but only nine innings over four big league games for the Dodgers since he came up in 2017.
With Cincinnati, Farmer caught in Spring Training 2019. But until July 2, 2019, against the Brewers, he had never started a game behind the plate in the Major Leagues.
Farmer, who caught for starter Tanner Roark vs. Milwaukee, had been Cincinnati’s No. 3 catcher behind Tucker Barnhart and Curt Casali. “I’ve got good mentors in Tucker and Curt. I’ve been peppering them with questions about how they go about it, and they’ve been really helpful,” Farmer said. “[Starting] came pretty quick. But I slept well last night and didn’t really think about it much.”
Farmer has appeared at first base, second base, and third base in 2019 and often takes grounders at shortstop before games. His pregame preparation has also included working with coach J.R. House on catching. (Sheldon - mlb.com - 7/2/19)
- In 2020, Farmer was impressive at shortstop, where he appeared in 15 games (10 starts). Farmer committed no errors in 86 innings. He logged a perfect fielding percentage, 1,000. And, in limited action, he showed a flare for making the big play.
Statcast data rated him at zero Outs Above Average, which means he was dependable in the field.
- In 2021 with the Reds, Farmer played first base, second base, third base, shortstop, and left field. He hasn't caught a game for the Reds since 2019. (Baseball-Reference.com - Nov 2021)
April 29-May 6, 2016: Farmer was on the D.L.
May 30-July 26, 2016: Kyle was on the D.L. after breaking his right wrist.
"I could only work with my left hand and arm," Farmer said in August, 2016. "I swung with a short bat for probably like a month and a half, and I wasn't able to use my lower half as much. Joc Pederson came into town, and he was on rehab too. We were working with Damon Mashore, our hitting coordinator. [Pederson] was looking at my swing and he said, 'Why don't you try some of these things,' and Mashore [agreed]. They tried to get me to elevate the ball more and drive the ball for more home runs and doubles.
"I had a lot of help down there," he added. "It's still a work in progress and I still have a lot to do."
July 17-28, 2019: Kyle was on the IL with concussion.
Sept 4-18, 2019: Kyle was on the IL with left oblique strain.
Oct 1, 2021: Farmer has played most of the season with a sports hernia and will undergo surgery after the season. The plan was for him to finish the season and play in the remaining games, but he was scratched from the lineup vs. the Pirates less than an hour before first pitch.
“I think it's an oblique strain of some sort, or intercostal,” Reds manager David Bell said. “He did that right prior to the game in a pregame workout. He may not be playing the rest of the season.”