Farmer stands out on mound for Single A Whitecaps

Except for one bump in the road, it’s been a smooth start to a second year of professional baseball for Buck Farmer. The 23-year old Conyers native, pitching for the Single A Western Michigan Whitecaps of the Detroit Tigers organization, is 4-3 with a 2.50 ERA in 39 2/3 innings pitched.

The right-hander and 2009 Rockdale graduate has made seven starts and when it comes to getting batters to swing and miss often, he’s picked up where he left off after a brilliant career at Georgia Tech, averaging nearly eight strikeouts per start (53 total).

Things didn’t go well in Farmer’s recent start, a 17-1 loss to the Great Lakes Loons (Los Angeles Dodgers) May 12. The Loons scored nine runs in four innings against Farmer, and though just three of the runs were earned, Farmer didn’t help himself, issuing a season-high four walks to pair with a season-low four strikeouts.

Farmer also allowed three runs in taking the loss against Fort Wayne April 25, but in his other five starts is 4-1 with 42 strikeouts and just five earned runs surrendered.

Farmer, a fifth-round pick in 2013 by the Tigers, is scheduled to make the start Sunday at 1 p.m. when the Whitecaps, who came into Friday’s action 23-16 and tied for first in the Midwest League Eastern Division with Dayton (22-15), wrap up a four-game home series with last-place Lake County.

Austin back in action for Thunder

Despite going hitless in his most reent game, Tyler Austin has come on strong of late. The Heritage graduate and fifth-year professional in the New York Yankees organization has hit safely in eight of his last 10 games and has added six of his nine walks in that span for the Double AA Trenton Thunder.

The trademark power still hasn’t shown up for the 22-year old as Austin hasn’t yet hit a homerun in 19 games. He came into the season with 29 career homeruns in two and a half minor league seasons, including 17 in 2012 when he was named the Yankees’ minor league player of the year.

That could be due to the fact that Austin, a 13th round draft pick in 2010, has dealt with a groin injury that kept him out of action from April 24-May 9 (he also had a wrist injury during spring camp). Since returning from the disabled list on May 10, Austin has reached base in 7 of his 23 plate appearances to pull his overall on-base percentage up to .325.

Second-place Trenton was 23-17 and a game and a half behind Eastern Division leader Portland as the two teams began a three-game weekend series Friday.