||Born: November 11, 1986
Height: 6′ 3″
Drafted: 8th Round, 234th Overall, 2008
How Acquired: Draft
College: University of Virginia
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|In college, Farrell didn’t look like a draft prospect prior to 2008. He hadn’t done well in two years in the wood bat Cape Cod League, but made some adjustments that helped him hit for good power despite the fact that he lacks good bat speed. His college numbers weren’t overwhelming, but Virginia plays in a low-offense environment. Among other things, he accounted for nearly half the team’s 2008 HRs (11 of 25) by himself. Farrell’s father, John, was the Red Sox pitching coach and was reportedly sought by the Pirates for their managerial job after the 2007 season, but wasn’t interested. Farrell doesn’t run well and isn’t a good defensive player. He was hampered by injuries in his first four pro seasons, never playing more than 92 games.
Played at State College, splitting time between first and third, a little more at the latter. He committed nine errors at third, resulting in a very bad .878 fielding percentage. He hit for average but not much power, and struck out more than once every four ABs. He had a large platoon split, with an OPS of 1.030 against LHPs and .642 against RHPs. Farrell missed much of June and early July after getting beaned twice.
Was tabbed to be the regular at 3B for West Virginia, but missed the beginning of the season with an oblique strain. He missed other stretches with injuries as well, including the last several weeks of the season. Outside of drawing walks, he didn’t do much at the plate and again fanned in over a quarter of his ABs. He continued to struggle defensively, with 25 errors in 70 games at third.
Farrell picked things up significantly with a hot start at Bradenton. He posted an OPS over .900 in both April and May, and hit large numbers of doubles. He started having knee problems in June, however, and slumped until he went on the DL to have knee drained. He got a staph infection and didn’t return until August, only to go on the DL again mid-month. When he was able to play, he cut his strikeout rate by about a quarter and hit for much more power, albeit mostly doubles. He continued to have a large platoon split: 1.220 OPS vs. LHPs and .756 vs. RHPs. Defense was still a problem; he had 20 errors in 70 games at third.
Moving up to play third at Altoona, Farrell got off to a good start but increasingly slumped. His monthly OPS from April to June was .910, .760 and .667. He went on the DL in late June with a right hand injury and didn’t return until mid-August. After returning he didn’t hit at all, with an OPS of .434. As he’s consistently done throughout his career, he had a marginally OK walk rate and struck out in a quarter of his ABs.
Farrell returned to Altoona and opened the season as the starting third baseman over Elevys Gonzalez, which seemed strange given their 2011 performances. Farrell’s hitting got worse and he struggled more than ever at third, posting a dismal .876 fielding percentage. He served a brief stint in AAA when Indianapolis needed a player, then returned to Altoona, where he lost some playing time to Kelson Brown. Eventually, Stefan Welch replaced Farrell at third and Farrell became a backup at first to Matt Curry, who had some injury problems.
Farrell has only gone backwards in two years in AA, so he won’t be anything more than a utility player in 2013. The Pirates could simply release him, but they might keep him on as a courtesy to his father, which is a common practice with relatives of baseball people. He wasn’t on any roster to start the season.