8/6/22 : Spotlight Series - OF Ezra Farmer
Written by Steve Potter
Ezra Farmer was officially signed by the Phillies to a minor league contract as an non-drafted free agent in July this year. He’s a nineteen year old outfielder from San Jacinto, California who played for Tahquitz High School. He was headed to Vernon College in Texas but instead chose to sign with the Phillies.
Recently I was able to ask him a few questions about the process, what’s really cool is that his older brother Caleb signed with the Washington Nationals organization as a non-drafted free agent the day after Ezra signed and that their mom Crystal was able to be there to witness both signings !
Here’s my Q & A session with Ezra :
Where you expecting to be drafted ? If so was it a bit disappointing to not hear your name called ?
“I was hoping to be drafted somewhere between the 11th-20th round of the draft if I were to go in it. When I wasn’t called in the draft it wasn’t so much disappointment as it was looking at another door that opened, that door was college. I heard from the Phillies not even 10 minutes after that draft was over telling me that they wanted me and if they could get me the money they would love for me to sign as a free agent.
It was a tough decision as this would dictate the next step of my life and when I was asked that question I went completely silent on the phone for a couple of seconds just thinking of what I really wanted to do, eventually choosing signing with the Phillies.
My brother Caleb was coming out of his final year of college ( third baseman at Colorado Mesa University ) and wasn’t picked in the draft either unfortunately and was figuring out all his options, if he was even gonna be able to play pro baseball, thankfully a day after the draft the Nationals gave him the opportunity to sign with them!”
I am pretty sure I walked past your Mom coming into the complex the day you signed. Then she drove over to the other coast to be there for your brother’s signing ?
“I signed before him, becoming a pro baseball player before my big brother! My mother wasn’t going to miss our signings for the world so as soon as she got the news she booked flights from California to Tampa. She made it on time for my signing then drove to the other coast and a day later was there for my brother’s signing! I couldn’t be more thankful to her for that, she really is amazing. My dad would have been there as well but he had work and wasn’t able to get off.”
Ezra with his mom Crystal at Carpenter Complex the day he signed his contract
Caleb Farmer with his mom Crystal the next day as he signed with the Washington Nationals
What is your biggest asset as a player, I’ve noticed speed and the ability to square up pitches for line drives.
“I would say my biggest asset is my adaptability. It allows me to learn what I need to do in a small amount of time, like an at bat to produce a productive result, adjusting to speed, taking tough pitches, reacting to off speed early. I try to learn from each at bat so by the time it’s my second, third, or fourth I’ve taken something from all the previous at bats to help me with my present one.”
First impressions are often telling on the baseball field but it’s just a part of the puzzle, no professional player excels without constantly adapting - the other day at the Complex against the pitching machine I noticed that Ezra was having some early struggles with timing but in the last round he was barreling the baseball and hitting line drives - it earned an “attaboy” from Phillies minor league hitting coordinator Jason Ochart. I asked Jason about that day and his early impressions regarding Ezra - “Yes he has shown a really good ability to make adjustments, which is a great sign. He works really hard and is clearly a very motivated young man. It’s apparent that he loves baseball and is already really taking advantage of the facilities and tools available to him!”
Ezra Farmer - photo by Mark Wylie
Ezra takes a pitch in live BP on Roberts Field - photo by Mark Wylie
I also was able to talk with Ezra’s parents, Crystal and Emmett via a phone call. They both are obviously ecstatic that their two sons are now professional baseball players and pointed out that the brothers are very close. In fact when Ezra was offered a contract and Caleb was still waiting it was Caleb who called Ezra and told him that if he ( Ezra ) makes it they both do and that he was very proud of his younger brother. That call was returned just a few hours later by the younger sibling to the older congratulating him on his opportunity. Ezra was actually playing in a tournament in Kansas the day he got the call from the Phillies - it set off a whirlwind of travel for Mr and Mrs Farmer. Their daughter, Sydney, was scheduled to play in a softball tournament in Indiana. Crystal and Sydney flew from California to Tampa where they waited while Ezra’s physicals and medical results came back ( protocol for pro baseball signings ) - Sydney then flew to Indiana for her tournament and was met there by Emmett and Crystal’s mom. As mentioned earlier, Crystal stayed in Florida for Ezra’s signing and then drove to West Palm Beach for Caleb’s signing. Afterwards Crystal and Sydney flew to Kansas to retrieve Ezra’s car and take it home 🤓.
Emmett coached both his sons when they were younger and realized they could play at a higher level in their early teens deciding to turn their coaching over to others more equipped to get them there. He emphasized their uniqueness both as people and ball players, Crystal pointed out that Caleb was second in the nation in NCAA Division II home runs this past season with 28 whereas Ezra’s game is more predicated on line drives and speed.
It is very apparent in speaking to both him and his parents that Ezra has great family support. Because of the uniqueness of the two brothers now beginning their pro baseball careers concurrently he also has a big brother that he can share the experience with as they both make their way along the minor league path.
We will follow Ezra’s journey as he continues to make the ascension from the backfields to affiliated teams and hopefully one day to the major leagues - it’s a grind but the young man already seems on the right track with energy, willingness to learn and the ability to adapt - a positive and open minded attitude has tremendous import to success and family support helps smooth out the bumps in the road - it’s apparent he has that covered - we wish him the best !
Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️