Cincinnati Reds: Kyle Farmer proving why he can be the starting shortstop

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 11: Kyle Farmer #17 of the Cincinnati Reds in action. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 11: Kyle Farmer #17 of the Cincinnati Reds in action. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

Before the season began, it was assumed by many that Kyle Farmer would be the Cincinnati Reds starting shortstop on Opening Day. However, David Bell and Reds front office had other plans and Farmer found himself back in the familiar role of utility infielder.

Bell moved Eugenio Suarez to shortstop, shifted Mike Moustakas from the keystone to the hot corner, and inserted Jonathan India as Cincinnati’s second baseman. The results have been less than optimal. Geno has struggled offensively thus far in 2021, and his defense at shortstop has been underwhelming to say the least.

Kyle Farmer is the Reds best defensive infielder.

As far as defense goes, no one on the Cincinnati Reds roster can pick it better than Kyle Farmer. That was even the case in 2020. Farmer’s calling card, beyond the obvious versatility he brings to the team, is his defense.

You can line up Farmer at any position on the infield and I’d take his glove over any other player on Cincinnati’s roster. He’s a better shortstop than Suarez, he’s a better third baseman than Moustakas, and while Jonathan India has an extremely high ceiling at second base, I’d still take Kyle Farmer over the Reds rookie.

Joey Votto’s absence due to a broken thumb has caused David Bell to shuffle the lineup. I was a bit surprised in the early-going that Farmer was replacing Suarez at short. Geno then shifted back to third base, allowing Moustakas to fill in at first base for Votto.

But, with so much talk prior to the season about getting Eugenio Suarez acclimated at shortstop, it seemed odd to me that David Bell would would decide to utilize Kyle Farmer as the team’s starting shortstop. He could have moved Moose and inserted Farmer at third base, or brought Nick Senzel in from the outfield. But, a tip of the cap to Bell, because Farmer is thriving with increased playing time.

Kyle Farmer has been excelling at the plate for the Reds as well.

Kyle Farmer went 3-for-5 last night with a two-run homer in extra innings and helped propel the Cincinnati Reds to a much-needed victory over the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. It’s honestly nothing new for Farmer, who’s had three multi-hit games since taking over at shortstop with Joey Votto on the IL.

Over the last eight games, Farmer is 11-for-31 (.355) with an .863 OPS. Not to pile on our friend Eugenio Suarez, but he’s had only four multi-hit games all season, and during that span is slashing just .171/.171/.371 with nine punch outs.

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In all likelihood, when Joey Votto returns from the 10-day IL, Kyle Farmer will return to the bench. However, he’s proven in the past week-plus, that when given the opportunity, he can have success both in the field and at the dish. For now, Farmer is the team’s top utility infielder, but it’s a long season and no never know what could happen.