July 23, 2011
Buck Farmer was the hottest hand on a staff full of hot pitchers at the end of Georgia Tech’s 2011 season.
The righty from Conyers, Ga., and former Rockdale High School sensation, had a breakout sophomore season, going 11-3 as the team’s Sunday starter, with a seven-game winning streak, and an ACC-leading eight wins. He raised his career record to 15-4, 11-1 in conference play.
When the chips were down in the NCAA Atlanta Regional, Farmer dominated Austin Peay, throwing a complete-game, five-hitter, keeping the Yellow Jackets alive.
As hot as he was and has been, he’s still far from satisfied and traveled up to Chatham to pitch in the Cape Cod Baseball League.
Farmer is 2-1 with a no-decision in four starts for the Anglers, and while his 5.57 ERA (13 earned runs in 21 innings) is higher than he’d like, he has gotten better with each outing.
Over his last two appearances he’s gone 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA, allowing five earned runs in 13 innings, striking out six while walking three. The three walks in his last start, a win Friday night over the Bourne Braves was the most he’s allowed in a start this summer, as he’s struck out 17 while walking four.
Farmer recently took time out during an off-day to talk with Sting Daily about a number of subjects, including breaking balls for opponents, “cookies” for his Tech teammates, and “shagging” fly balls for himself.
STING DAILY: How has your summer in Chatham been so far?
Buck Farmer: It’s been great. It’s a fun town to live in here. We get a lot of fans for every game. It makes it really fun. It’s a competitive league. I love the competitiveness. It’s just a fun experience so far.
SD: What do you want to work on while you’re up here?
FARMER: A lot of areas could use improvement, definitely. One area’s never too good, but off-speed would probably be my biggest work area when I’m up here.
SD: Will you throw more breaking pitches than usual while you’re working up here?
FARMER: Throwing up here, it’s going to be kind of the same because we have, I think, four or five people on our team from the ACC. So I’m going to be facing the people I’m going to be facing during the season. So throwing more off-speed, working on it is going to be great but also, keeping the fastball, making location, hitting spots is still going to be important as well.
SD: What’s it like playing against Georgia Tech teammates?
FARMER: (smiles) It makes it fun. You go back to school and you have bragging rights. It’s like, ‘Hey, remember when we beat you this day, but you all came back and beat us that day.’ It’s a fun time. [One] night I saw Brandon Thomas, Mott Hyde and Daniel Palka and Matt Grimes. That’s going to be a game we’re going to remember because we lost on a walk-off home run to them. It’s just really fun seeing them.
SD: Is playing Wareham kind of like an intersquad game?
FARMER: It is. I haven’t thrown against them and I don’t know if I will or not but it’s always fun playing against kids you’re going to playing with in the spring.
SD: With the exception of Wareham, which has like five or six teammates, when you see a teammate on another team, will you give them one “cookie” a game?
FARMER: I mean first-pitch fastball is going to be their only shot at it. But other than that, unless I fall behind against them I’m still going to pitch them the same way I would every other batter.
SD: You were shagging balls in center field during batting practice. While you’re working on things up here, are you working on your outfield skills?
FARMER (laughs): Oh, no. I love getting out there and running around. I know I’m not going to do anything today, so I just like getting out there running around, catching fly balls, working up a sweat and what not.
SD: What do you like most about the Chatham area?
FARMER: Here in Chatham, the beaches are great. The water’s cold, so you can’t really get in the water, but it’s a fun time around here. It’s a small town but you get to meet a lot of interesting people.
SD: Are you a beach guy or becoming a beach guy?
FARMER: I’m definitely a beach guy. I’m more of a lake guy, but I’ve always loved going to the beach, especially when I was younger. It’s always something you looked forward to.
SD: Are you looking forward to getting back to training in Atlanta?
FARMER: Oh, definitely. Getting back to Steve Tamborra is going to be big for me. I’m trying to lose a little bit of weight while I’m up here but getting back to him is going to help me in the long run. We actually have a strength and conditioning coach here but our strength and conditioning coach at Tech also sends us a workout program for us to do while we’re up here.