Rockdale's Farmer inks with Georgia Tech

CONYERS - Farmers equipped with all the right tools perform their job accordingly in the fields.

Buck Farmer is no exception.

Only his unabridged tools operate on the baseball field for the Rockdale Bulldogs. And come next year, this particular Farmer will don a new uniform after recently signing a baseball scholarship with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

"I'm really excited about going up there," he said. "I'm a little nervous about going into Tech, but not too (much). I know a lot of people up there already, so it's really exciting for me."

Farmer, who checks in at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, is rated the fifth-best high school prospect in Georgia and ranked 27th in the nation, according to PG Crosschecker.

In his junior year at Rockdale, the switch-hitting Farmer batted a team-high .473 with 10 home runs and 28 RBIs. He also led the Bulldogs with 37 hits and 20 runs scored.

On the mound, he had a 2.03 earned run average and 86 strikeouts in 512/3 innings pitched.

As a result, Farmer was selected to the Citizen's all-area baseball team for the third straight year.

"With all the publicity this brings to him, he takes every day the same," Rockdale coach Casey Martin said. "It hasn't really gone to his head, and he's just stayed very grounded."

After watching Farmer play for the first time in the eighth grade, Martin knew there was something special about the youngster.

"There's just a certain vibe that you get off kids who have this potential," Martin said. "When you have those kinds of kids in any kind of program, they're going to be successful because they want to be there. There's no level of expectation that I could ever have above the expectation he sets for himself."

In addition to Martin - who has coached him four seasons, three as a head coach - Farmer credits his father, Warren, and coaches Bobby Aiken and Scott Whaley for developing his game.

"If you look at the in-state recruits, Buck Farmer is an outstanding pitching prospect and a great competitor," Georgia Tech coach Danny Hall said. "He has a chance to go very high in the draft next year because he is so talented. So we are getting a guy that is not only talented, but a pitcher (who) is extremely competitive and heads up this recruiting class."

Over the summer, Farmer posted an 8-1 record with a 1.93 ERA for the East Cobb Yankees. In 58 innings pitched, the powerful right-hander struck out 62.

After leading the team to a 52-5-1 record and the 2008 Connie Mack World Series title, he was named MVP of the World Wood Bat Association national championships.

"It was definitely an experience going out to New Mexico for the Connie Mack World Series," said Farmer, who competed before a crowd of 8,000 on opening night. "Every night was above 5,000 people, so I got to observe something not many people will be able to. I wasn't really nervous; I feed off of that stuff."

By leading vocally and through his actions - on and off the diamond - Farmer has played an integral role during his time at Rockdale.

"He's just got this humor and presence about him; when Buck's around, you know Buck's around," Martin said. "He's serious when he needs to be serious, and he's light when he needs to be light. There are just so many things about him that's so likeable."

Farmer, who has taken technology classes for the past four years, plans to study mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech. However, whether that is the road he wants to travel depends on the work in conjunction with baseball.

"I love this game. There's no other sport like it," Farmer said. "I think that the challenge is what brings players out - for love of the game. There's really no specific one thing; it's everything."

Regarding his final year as a Bulldog?

"Going into the season, I know I'm going to have to help the team, but I can't take over everything. I'm going to have to let everybody else contribute," Farmer said. "After I'm gone, it's not like the world's going to end. So I'm just going to go in relaxed, calm and cool and take it one game at a time. I'm looking forward to being with the team and having a good, fun year with them."

Jason Murdock can be reached at jason.murdock@rockdalecitizen.com.