Minor League Profile: Eric Farris

15 05 2008

The Milwaukee Brewers drafted Eric Farris in the fourth round of last year’s draft.  The team looked to add depth to its middle infield prospects, and it appears they may have found a keeper in Farris.

Athleticism is one of Eric’s best tools at second base.  Scouts say that his arms are too “short” to play shortstop, so he is “stuck” at second.  That is fine, as Farris impressed everyone with his defensive capabilities at second.  In one Brewerfan.net article, Helena’s announcer that watched the rookie play all last year said, “Basically, if anything was hit on the ground to the right side, it was an out.  Not a lot of hyperbole there, simply put he can flat-out play.”  His range his huge at second, and he has a solid arm to back it up.  There is a lot to like defensively about Eric Farris.

Most scouts are projecting Farris to be a two-hole hitter.  He does not have a lot of power, but he can hit for a high average.  Last year in Helena, Farris hit .326/.369/.423 in 239 at-bats, so the young man can obviously put the ball in play.  To be a true number two hitter in the line-up, however, he will need to walk more than he does.  His 6.7% walk rate is not good.

While he does not walk much, Eric also does not strike out much.  In a system that has notoriously been one featuring high-strikeout players, he struck out only 22 times all season.  Bill Hall already has 43 strike outs this season if you would like to put that number in perspective.

How about power?  Eric Farris is not known for hitting the long ball.  It appears that he has gap-to-gap power, but not quite enough to get it out of the park.  The second baseman only hit one home run in 2008, after all.  That may be a bit misleading, however, as he also had 16 doubles.  That is not an overwhelming number, but it does show that he can get the ball into the gaps.  At only 22 years old, Farris will still be developing that gap-power and filling into his body as a whole.

I am not completely sure that Eric has a future in the big leagues.  His defense and average from last year suggest that he has the potential to be a major league player, but his lack of power is a little disconcerting.  If he is not going to hit for power, Eric needs to get that walk rate up.  With that said, Baseball America has the young man ranked as the number one second base prospect in the Brewers system.  The tools are there for Eric to make some noise in the minors.  That is certain.  If Eric can put up a solid season in West Virginia this season, I believe he’ll be on the prospect map for good in the Brewers organization.  He projects as a true two-hole hitter that can steal bases (21 last season), hit for average, not strike out much, and play great defense.  Sounds good to me.

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