Friday, July 28, 2017

Welcome to the Blue, Luke Farrell!

While we wait for potential trade news involving a top pitcher and some prospects, the Dodgers decided to pull the trigger on a smaller deal that brings us the son of a current major league manager. It has just been announced that the Dodgers have received 26-year old right-handed starting pitcher Luke Farrell from the Kansas City Royals for cold hard cash. How much cash? We can only speculate.

Luke Farrell is the son of Boston Red Sox skipper John Farrell. He attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and was drafted by the Royals in the 6th round in 2013. You can follow Luke on twitter here: @elFarrell52, and on Instagram here: @luke_farrell52.

As for his skills on the diamond, I'll get to that a bit later. What I would rather tell you is that few men his age have gone through the trials and tribulations of life like Luke has. At the age of eighteen a tumor was found in his skull and he had to undergo a harrowing surgery that was life threatening. Per Pete Grathoff at
Farrell’s jaw would be split in half and he would be put into a medically induced coma for up to 14 days.
“To watch your son, who at the time was 18, have a conversation with the performing surgeon as a consultation before the procedure, and talk about the potential of stroke or a bleed out, those are not normal conversations for an 18-year-old,” John Farrell said. “It was startling to say the least.” 
Thankfully, the tumor was removed and it was benign. Four months after that he was on the ballfield at Northwestern University as a freshman. Then, déjà vu. Prior to his junior season the tumor came back, and he had it removed again -- this time using proton radiation treatment afterwards.
“That round of surgery and radiation was tough, just because there were a lot of complications from it,” Farrell said. “I had some paralysis in my neck. I couldn’t speak for about two months. I had no voice. And … you’re really fatigued.”
As for his head today, I understand that all is well. In fact, one of the primary reasons the Royals drafted him out of college was his high Baseball IQ.
“We knew this when we drafted him, he’s extremely smart,” said J.J. Picollo, the Royals’ assistant general manager of player personnel. “He really knows what his abilities are, how he needs to attack hitters. His pitching IQ is higher than most guys coming into the system.” 
Farrell’s dad had spent time as a director of player development with the Cleveland Indians, as a pitching coach at Boston and manager with the Blue Jays and Red Sox. That was all before Luke Farrell finished college, so he was immersed in the game. 
“He’s a little different,” Picollo said. “You feel like you’re talking to someone who has been coaching for 10 years when really it’s a player that has been with us for four or five years.”
Per a Dodgers press release:
Farrell, 26, appeared in 17 games (16 starts) with Kansas City’s Triple-A Omaha this season going 7-4 with a 4.07 ERA (44 ER/97.1 IP) and holding batters to a .245 average, while striking out 94 batters against 33 walks. He also made his Major League debut this season after the Royals selected his contract on July 1 and made his first career start in the first game of a doubleheader against the Twins on that day. Farrell allowed five runs on seven hits in 2.2 innings with two strikeouts against Minnesota and did not factor in the decision in the Royals 11-6 victory.

The Westlake, Ohio native has posted a 24-26 record with a 4.27 ERA and has collected three saves in 99 career games (80 starts) over five professional seasons with the Royals organization. He has struck out 448 batters against 175 walks, while limiting hitters to a .259 average. Farrell, who was designated for assignment on July 24, was originally drafted by the Royals in the sixth round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of Northwestern University. 
 Eric Longenhagen at FanGraphs wrote this about Luke:
Luke’s fastball sits 90-92 with downhill plane, he has an average cutter and fringe curveball. He projects as an up-and-down arm without quite enough stuff to crack a full-time rotation spot, though you could argue his pitches have more projection than most 25-year-olds because of the developmental time he missed dealing with his health issues.
In honor of Luke joining the Dodgers franchise I made the above fantasy Baseball cards of him. For the card in the left I used a pic Luke posted up on his own Instagram and the 1974 Topps Baseball card design.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

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