For the first time in Doug Melvin’s tenure in Milwaukee, the Brewers didn’t pick a single player in the Rule 5 draft. They did, however, lose one — infielder Eric Farris was picked in the minor league portion of the draft by the Seattle Mariners.
The Brewers drafted Farris in the 4th round of the 2007 draft, a round after picking Jonathan Lucroy and a round before picking Caleb Gindl. At 5’9″ and 180 pounds, Farris never hit for much power (and was never going to), and he also never showed much patience at the plate. His game was putting the ball into play and using his speed.
Farris got off to a good start in his professional career, hitting .326/.369/.423 as a 21-year-old in rookie ball. After following that up with a .293/.332/.377 line in Single-A West Virginia, he really started to turn heads in 2009 when he he .298/.341/.385 for Brevard County, racking up 70 steals in 76 attempts.
The Brewers had him skip Double-A entirely after that season, but he could never really find that same level of success in Nashville. In parts of three seasons, Farris hit just .277/.321/.369 in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. He received September call-ups in each of the past two seasons, and finally picked up his first major league hit on September 29 this year against Houston.
Once seen as the heir apparent to Rickie Weeks at second base, Farris saw Scooter Gennett pass him on the organizational depth chart in recent years. With Gennett expected to start 2013 in Triple-A, the Brewers decided to outright Farris to Double-A before the Rule 5 draft, giving him the opportunity to be picked in the draft without requiring his new club to keep him in the majors the entire season.
Giving Farris an opportunity elsewhere was a class move, and while it’s a minor thing, it’s the kind of thing that players and agents make note of and remember. It’s no surprise he’s going to Seattle, either — GM Jack Zduriencik drafted Farris in 2007 as the Brewers’ scouting director. This is the second year in a row Zduriencik has drafted one of his Brewers favorites. Last year, the Mariners took LHP Lucas Luetge from the Brewers.
Farris left the fans of Milwaukee with this goodbye tweet:
Thank you to the Brewers and their fans 4 the love and overwhelming support throughout my career! Lookin forward to the future w/ #Seattle
— Eric Farris (@eRoc86) December 6, 2012