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Baseball: Farquhar inks with Toronto

Joshua Parrott • jparrott@theadvertiser.com • June 28, 2008  

Danny Farquhar enjoyed his three years as a pitcher at UL, but the Toronto Blue Jays made him an offer he could not refuse. 

Farquhar, drafted in the 10th round by the Blue Jays on June 6, agreed to terms on a contract with the team on Friday afternoon. The two sides reached an agreement exactly three weeks after the franchise took the junior right-hander with the 309th pick of this year’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

"I’m definitely relieved that things got situated and that I’m finally a Blue Jay," Farquhar said from his parent’s home in Pembroke Pines, Fla. "I’m excited because I finally get to go play baseball. I’m excited to go play."

Farquhar, who did not give details on his contract or bonus, will start his professional career with the Single-A Auburn Doubledays of the short-season New York-Penn League. The Florida native plans to drive to Toronto’s spring training home in Dunedin, Fla., on Sunday to take a physical and sign his contract. The 5-foot-11 righty will likely join Auburn for next weekend’s home series against the Staten Island Yankees.

While waiting to sign, the Archbishop McCarthy (Fla.) High graduate had been throwing bullpen sessions at his alma mater to stay sharp and in shape. Former Ragin’ Cajun teammate Hunter Moody now plays for the rookie-level Gulf Coast Blue Jays after going to Toronto in the 35th round of this year’s draft.

"I know it’s a good opportunity because I’ll be with a lot of the guys who were drafted high (by the Blue Jays)," said Farquhar, who had to sign by Aug. 15 or go into next year’s draft pool. "I’ve never been to New York. There’s good fishing up there, speckled trout and good golf.

"It’s going to be a good place to go and see."

Farquhar got drafted despite a frustrating junior season with the Cajuns. After entering the season as the team’s top starter and the Sun Belt Conference’s preseason pitcher of the year, he went 3-8 with a 4.95 ERA. He also logged a team-high 83 strikeouts in 14 appearances.

In his previous two years Farquhar went a combined 12-4 with 10 saves, enjoying most of his success out of the bullpen. Farquhar became a starter late in his sophomore year, going 6-3 with a 3.08 ERA, six saves and 115 strikeouts. He finished fourth nationally in strikeouts per nine innings (11.7) and was named the All-Louisiana co-pitcher of the year and a second team all-conference selection.

The statistical drop did not scare off pro scouts, who fell in love with Farquhar’s velocity, knack for changing speeds and ability to locate his pitches. One scout clocked his fastball at 93 miles per hour in a game this past season.

Farquhar, expected to be used out of the bullpen at the pro level, appears to be a perfect match for the Blue Jays. His favorite baseball player is Toronto pitcher A.J. Burnett, and he knows former Cajun standout B.J. Ryan serves as the team’s closer.

"The big thing Danny does is he has excellent movement and has the ability to change arm angles and throw multiple pitches," UL coach Tony Robichaux said. "I think they’ll use him as a closer or set-up man. The only thing Danny needs to do is continue to mature.

"I think his stuff is good enough to pitch in the big leagues."

As Farquhar prepares to start his pro career, he plans to always keep a piece of Lafayette in his heart. Farquhar will eventually return to UL for his final two semesters to earn his bachelor’s degree.

"I loved my three years in Louisiana," he said. "I loved the fans, and coach Robe and the other coaches were great to me. I know what the Cajun culture is all about now.

"And food won’t be spicy anymore after eating the food (in Louisiana)."