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Get To Know: Eric Farris

When the Twins announced their non-roster invites to major league spring training, Eric Farris was one of the least known players on the list to most. Sure, since you read Twins Daily, you’ve read his name quite frequently in the daily Minor League Reports the last two seasons. He came to the Twins before the 2013 season after getting big league time with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2011 and 2012.
Image courtesy of Steve Mitchell, USA Today
I had a chance to catch up with Eric Farris in Ft. Myers for a few minutes.
In high school, Farris was a very good shortstop in Arizona, good enough to be drafted in the 42nd round by the Atlanta Braves. Instead of signing, he went to Loyola Marymount. The decision proved wise as three years later, he was the fourth round pick of the Milwaukee Brewers.

He signed quickly and reported to the rookie league team in Helena. He spent one year in Low-A and one year in High-A, but in 2010, he was pushed to AAA Nashville. He spent most of the next two seasons playing second base for Nashville.

However, in late July of 2011, Rickie Weeks went on the disabled list. Eric Farris was summoned. On July 28, in an afternoon game at Miller Park, Farris led off the bottom of the 7th inning, pinch-hitting for former Twins pitcher LaTroy Hawkins. He grounded out to second base in his lone at-bat. His stay was brief as a couple of days later, Felipe Lopez was called up to the Brewers and Farris was sent back to Nashville. The memories remain crystal clear.

According to Farris, “Like anybody would imagine, it was the best day of my life. Getting that call, just knowing that somebody likes what you do, and they need you up there. It was short-lived, but it was definitely a fun experience.”

After a strong 2012 season in Nashville, Farris spent the month of September with the Brewers. He didn’t make any starts, but he played in 13 games and got nine plate appearances. He went 1-8. His one hit was a single off of Enerio Del Rosario of the Houston Astros.

Regarding his 2012 stint with the Brewers, Farris said, “I was up for over a month. It was fun. Didn’t play all that much, but just the experience of being around all those veteran guys and watching the game at its highest level was amazing.”

However, following the season, Farris was removed from the 40-man roster. In December, the Seattle Mariners drafted him in the Triple-A portion of the Rule 5 draft but let him go. Just before the 2013 season began, the Twins were able to sign the infielder to a minor league contract.

He began the 2013 season with one game in New Britain before being promoted to Rochester. He began by playing second base, as he had the majority of his minor league career, but it wasn’t long before he made a shift. He played 58 games at second base and then ended the season by playing 41 games in left field.

He returned to the organization for the 2014 season. “I came here (to the Twins), and I played second base pretty much the whole time. Then before you know it, I was in the outfield. Then last year in spring training I played a lot of infield, and then I ended up playing center field every day.”

Of the 133 games he played in 2014 for Rochester, 117 of them were in center field.

Farris is not one to complain about where he plays, or where he bats in the lineup. “You’ve just got to be ready. It doesn’t matter where I play as long as I’m in there.”

For the Red Wings, Farris hit .280/.316/.356 (.672) with 23 doubles, a triple and four home runs. He also stole 16 bases.

Following the season, he spent his offseason playing 53 games in Mexico. He was the three-spot hitter for Tomateros de Culiacan. He hit .309/.348/.401 (.749) with eight doubles, a triple and three home runs. He also stole 25 bases. He split his time between second base and the outfield.

As important to Farris, his team won. They represented Mexico in the Carribbean Series. In six games there, he hit .304.

“It was a lot of baseball, but the baseball was fun. It was exciting. The fans were great. My team did well. I think I learned a lot. It was actually a real good experience. I’m excited to maybe possibly go back. I think going there and playing there for as long as I did is going to help me prepare for the season.”

Farris was quick to re-sign with the Twins organization for a third season.

“I really enjoy being here. I mean, this is a good organization. I felt like there is an opportunity here. A guy in my position, that’s kind of what you’re looking for, somewhere where you will get to play and get a chance to get to the big leagues if they need you.”

Here we are, less than two weeks from opening day. Farris remains in big league camp. Most likely, the 29-year-old is destined for another season in upstate New York, and if that is the case, he is going to enjoy it.

“I feel blessed and happy to be here. I have fun out there. I go out there and I run around and (am) always having fun. I don’t like to let a lot bother me. I just kind of play the game and that’s what I like to do.”

He has two goals for 2015. “Win. Win and get to the big leagues, and that’s it.”

Farris is a guy who is easy to root for. He’s hard-working and fun-loving. He understands that his versatility is valuable to him and could be what helps get him back to the big leagues. Until then, he’s just going to enjoy playing this great game wherever a uniform is available and doing what he can to help his team win.

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5 Comments

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Paul Pleiss
Mar 24 2015 12:30 AM

Is there a scenario that gets Farris to the big leagues this season with the Twins? Hicks and Schafer collide in a ST game and are both sidelined? Maybe?

 

It sounds like this young man has a great attitude. Thanks for sharing his story.

I find these stories much more interesting than most of the stories about stars in the sense that they're fighting for everything. They're fighting to get to the big leagues but also to stay in the lineup when younger "prospects" make their way up. They have to play internationally often to keep the dream alive. Talking to Farris was great, and seeing him interacting with teammates, it's clear how well respected he is.

 

They have to play internationally often to keep the dream alive.

 

Great article, Seth.  In following the winter leagues online, Farris was a mainstay for his club, batting high in the order, and playing in some 77 games and getting around 300 PAs. With the 133 games played in Rochester, there must be an element of exhaustion to go along with his obvious love of the game.

 

Questions-

 

1)  How do the Twins rate his glove as a potential all-around utility guy  (both IF/OF)?

 

2)  How confident would the Twins be in trading/cutting their excess IF/OF utility depth, both major and minor league, if Farris were the OF alternative?

 

3)  About how much money did he make in the Mexican League?

 

4)  About how much money did he make playing in Rochester?

 

 

I don't know if I can answer those questions with a lot of certainty, but I can try.

 

1.) Farris is a life-long infielder who got to the big leagues as a second baseman, so I'm sure he's fully capable. Outfield-wise, he's been solid. I don't think he's a natural, but they did play him in CF pretty much 

2.) I mean, right now, their CF options are Hicks, Schafer, Robinson and Rosario all ahead of him. In LF, Arcia and Rosario would be ahead him. I don't know how they'd feel if it got to that point, but most likely, if it did, the season woudln't be going well, and we'd see more Rosario. 

2 Part 2?) I don't know how much they make in Mexico. My guess is it is a bit more than they make during the regular minor league season. That said, at 29 and with all his minor league (And some major league) experience, Farris probably does pretty well during the 6-month season.

3.) I can't tell you how much. My guess would be in the $10,000-$12,000 a month range, but it could be closer to $6-8,000.

 

I don't know if I can answer those questions with a lot of certainty, but I can try.

 

1.) Farris is a life-long infielder who got to the big leagues as a second baseman, so I'm sure he's fully capable. Outfield-wise, he's been solid. I don't think he's a natural, but they did play him in CF pretty much 

2.) I mean, right now, their CF options are Hicks, Schafer, Robinson and Rosario all ahead of him. In LF, Arcia and Rosario would be ahead him. I don't know how they'd feel if it got to that point, but most likely, if it did, the season woudln't be going well, and we'd see more Rosario. 

2 Part 2?) I don't know how much they make in Mexico. My guess is it is a bit more than they make during the regular minor league season. That said, at 29 and with all his minor league (And some major league) experience, Farris probably does pretty well during the 6-month season.

3.) I can't tell you how much. My guess would be in the $10,000-$12,000 a month range, but it could be closer to $6-8,000.

 

Thanks, Seth.  As I suspected, Farris has to work pretty hard over 10-11 months for not much money.

 

In regards to utility options,  I was thinking primarily of where Farris fits into their thinking relative to Nunez, Schafer, Robinson at the major league level (presumably all of these guys are theoretically with trade value under the right conditions)/ Ortiz, Bernier, Beresford at Rochester.  I'm working under the assumption that they don't want any of Arcia, Rosario or Hicks in part-time roles.  Assuming Farris only has the chops for 2B, CF and LF, his chances of sticking as a utility guy are lessened quite a bit, but it looks like he wouldn't embarrass the team in an emergency situation at one of those positions. 


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