After #38 Mitchell Taylor, a promising young lefty to definitely watch closely next season, comes the highest ranked relief pitcher on our list at #37…
#37: Alan Robert Farina
Pitcher / 24 years old / 5′11″ 195 lbs
Born: August 9th, 1986 in Chuluota, Florida
Bats: Right Throws: Right
High School Team: Oviedo Lions
College: Clemson University
Drafted by: The Toronto Blue Jays in the 3rd round (115th overall) of the 2007 First-Year-Player Draft for $254,250
Jersey Number: #10 for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats
- Majored in economics during college
- Initially attended Daytona Beach Community College before transferring to Clemson
- Ranked the #2 prospect in the Florida Collegiate League during his tenure with Daytona Beach C.C.
- Upon transferring to Clemson, he was ranked as the #14 transfer in the nation by Baseball America
- 1st-team all-state and conference pitcher of the year in 2006
- Florida Junior College All-Star in 2005
- Had an 11-2 record and 0.52 ERA in his senior year of high school
- Played at Clemson and Daytona Beach C.C. with Marquez Smith, a Chicago Cubs prospect that somehow avoided being selected in this year’s Rule 5 Draft
- 1st in ERA, WHIP, and holds
- 3rd in saves
- 7th in strikeouts, 3rd among relievers
- 6th in appearances
- 1st in ERA, WHIP, and runs allowed
- Tied-1st in home runs allowed
- 2nd in hits allowed
- 4th in saves, and the 3 people above him are no longer in the organization
- 7th in games finished
Extra Information and previous experience:
- A four minute video clip of him in New Hampshire can be found here.
When fan favorite relievers Tim Collins, Danny Farquhar, and Trystan Magnuson were all traded away from the Blue Jays organization this year, fans were having a hard time adjusting and anointing someone else as the “phenom” reliever of the future. That title can definitely now be given to right-hander Alan Farina.
After successfully pitching for Daytona Beach Community College and desiring more exposure to Major League scouts, Farina transferred to Clemson University for their 2006-2007 season. He pitched quite well for Clemson, finishing with a 6-3 record, 11.3 K/9, and 3.77 ERA in 57.1 innings for the Tigers. He was primarily used out of the bullpen, but made two starts as well: 2 ER in 4.2 innings on March 11th, and 6 ER in 2.0 innings on March 18th.
There was only one appearance in Farina’s 2007 season with Clemson where he failed to log at least one inning, and he logged 2 innings or more in 14 of his 25 appearances.
He had many notable games that season, but perhaps the highlight of his season was when he was phenomenal against Florida State University on May 12, 2007. FSU was the #2 team in college baseball at the time, and they led the nation in batting average.
Farina stepped his game up significantly and pitched 4.1 shutout innings, allowed only 4 hits and struck out 6. He ended up getting the win, and the Tigers avenged their blowout 11-1 loss to FSU from the night before . To make the outing even more special, Farina’s parents both graduated from FSU and he had grown up a Seminole fan. It was his third outing of the season where he pitched at least 4 shutout innings.
So what kind of repertoire does Farina have to be so successful against opposing hitters? His fastball is one of his strongest pitches, which normally touches the 91-95 mph range. His “out” pitch is his 83-86 mph slider, which he has improved more and more as he has continued his professional career. He sometimes throws in a curveball and his above average changeup to keep hitters off balance, and he demonstrates great poise on the mound by being very aggressive when attacking hitters. He is apparently developing a cut-fastball as well.
In a recent interview with new Blue Jays bullpen coach Pat Hentgen, he said that Farina has a really good arm, and a “pretty darn good tight slider”. Farina could get even nastier if he further develops his off-speed pitches.
Farina’s impressive 2007 season with Clemson allowed him to get noticed in the higher rounds of the draft, where the Blue Jays took him 115th overall in the 3rd round. One scouting director who was familiar with Farina had this to say about him prior to the 2007 draft:
“He has the chance to be a future closer. He’s got the repertoire, he’s got the pitches, he’s got the swagger, he’s got everything.”
He signed shortly after being drafted, and managed to appear in 6 games with the Auburn Doubledays of the New York-Penn League, including three starts. He had mixed results with Auburn that year, so the Blue Jays decided to promote him to Class-A Lansing and use him exclusively out of the bullpen in 2008. He had decent results in his 29 innings with Lansing that season, where he battled some control issues (14 walks) but continued to be the dominant strikeout pitcher he has always been (11.4 K/9).
His effective 2008 earned him a promotion to Hi-A Dunedin in 2009 as a 22-year-old, and that’s when his injury issues started to affect his performance. Farina had been battling shoulder and elbow injuries, which limited him to pitch only 37.1 innings, where he logged a 6.51 ERA and 11.3 H/9.
Farina was supposed to finally be 100% healthy in 2010, and it definitely showed. He was dominant in his return to Hi-A Dunedin, where he managed a 1.29 ERA, 4.7 H/9, 2.7 BB/9, and 11.4 K/9 in 36.1 innings. Unsurprisingly, these numbers earned him a promotion to Double-A New Hampshire, where he picked up right where he left off at Dunedin.
In 19.1 innings with the Fisher Cats this season, Farina posted a 1.40 ERA and 4.2 BB/9. He was virtually unhittable there as well, mostly because he gave up only 6 hits (2.8 H/9) and struck out 28 (13.0 K/9) in those 19.1 innings!
Farina continued to demonstrate that he was healthy, as evidenced through his stats in the Arizona Fall League this year:
Expected 2011 Team: Double-A New Hampshire
Ultimate ceiling if he puts it all together: Closer, or Long Reliever
There’s not really much else to say about Alan Farina besides that it will be very exciting to watch him in 2011. He’ll have to continue to prove that he is healthy and that he can dominate Double-A hitters over a longer period, but it’s interesting to note that he did not give up a home run in all of 2010. It’s obvious as to why he comes in as the top ranked reliever on our top prospects list, and if his 2011 numbers are anything like his numbers from 2010, he could easily make it to Triple-A Las Vegas before the end of the 2011 season.
He was recently put on the 40-man roster in November prior to the Rule 5 Draft, so it’s not unreasonable to think that he could also get a call to The Show in September when the rosters expand. He has the potential to be a lights-out closer, but his ability to log multiple innings could make him a long relief option as well.
Here are a few parting gifts for you before moving onto another Jays Journal post. They’re from the Arizona Fall League this year in October, with Farina doing what he does best: three pitch strikeouts.