Reds: Stop discounting Kyle Farmer’s production in 2021

CINCINNATI, OHIO - JULY 04: Kyle Farmer #17 of the Cincinnati Reds walks onto the field. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - JULY 04: Kyle Farmer #17 of the Cincinnati Reds walks onto the field. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

It seems as though a good majority of Reds Country is coming around to the idea that Kyle Farmer is a major league-caliber shortstop. However, there’s still a small section of the Cincinnati Reds fanbase that refuse to accept the notion that Farmer is, and should be, the team’s starting shortstop.

While I’ll continue to say that Jose Barrero should be given every opportunity to win the starting shortstop job out of spring training next year, this year, the position belongs to Kyle Farmer. The Georgia native has proven more than capable of being an everyday player in the big leagues.

For argument’s sake, let’s dismiss any notion that Farmer cannot play the position defensively. Frankly, Farmer is the team’s best infield defender. The 30-year-old haas just three errors at shortstop on the season and one defensive run saved while fielding shortstop in 2021. Since 2017, Farmer has eight DRS while playing all over the infield.

Kyle Farmer’s bat has helped carry the Reds over the last month.

While Joey Votto deserves a ton of credit for his performance since the All-Star break, Kyle Farmer has been equally as dominant at the dish. Over the last 15 days, Farmer has the seventh-best OPS (1.237) in the National League.

Furthermore, Farmer leads the NL in hits (23) during that same timeframe and ranks just behind the Chicago Cubs’ Rafael Ortega in batting average (.434). Farmer has four doubles, two triples, three home runs, and six RBIs during that span and has been moved up to the No. 3 spot in the batting order.

The bright lights do not seem to be too much for Kyle Farmer. A humble individual by nature, Farmer was relieved earlier this season when he found out he’d made the team. There was little doubt among the fanbase that the versatile infielder would wind up on the 2021 Opening Day roster, but Farmer wasn’t convinced.

Prior to the 2021 season, Kyle Farmer appeared to have the inside track for the starting gig at shortstop after Cincinnati’s front office failed to acquire one of the highly-touted free agents (Didi Gregorius, Marcus Semien, and Andrelton Simmons).

However, Jonathan India’s offensive production during spring training caused David Bell to pivot and find a way to get the rookie’s bat into the lineup on a consistent basis. His solution was to move Mike Moustakas from third base to second base, shift Eugenio Suarez from the hot corner to shortstop, and send Kyle Farmer to the bench.

Farmer took the demotion in stride and began the season in a similar role that he’d had over the previous two seasons in the Queen City. But, injuries to Mike Moustakas and Nick Senzel forced Bell to pivot once again, and ever since Farmer has become the Reds’ everyday starter at shortstop on May 18th, all he’s done is rake.

Since that game against the San Francisco Giants, Farmer has not fielded a position other than shortstop. Over that span, the right-handed hitting infielder is slashing .278/.333/.462 with 11 doubles, eight home runs, and 26 RBIs. The .796 OPS will play all day for a team’s No. 7 or No. 8 hitter in the lineup.

Kyle Farmer is not going to draw a ton of walks, as evidence by his 3.4% walk-rate over those 235 plate appearances. But, his 110 wRC+ and .341 wOBA are a most welcome sight to fans throughout Reds Country.

Next. 4 difficult transactions the Reds must make

The Cincinnati Reds could have chosen to make a trade for a shortstop at the deadline, but have put their eggs in Kyle Farmer’s basket. Even though Nick Senzel is being used all over the field, shortstop is one position the former first-round pick needs to steer clear of upon his return from the IL. That spot, for the rest of the 2021 season, belongs to Kyle Farmer.