There is a case to be made that Daulton Varsho is the best defensive player in Major League Baseball.
The 26-year-old Wisconsin native, who patrols both the Right and Central Field of the Arizona Diamondbacks, sits atop the Statcast leaderboard for Above average outs (Basically a scale that scores players the probability of performing a play.) It tops Defensive drills saved between defensive players too. Then there is the sprain.
Anyone who has followed the path of a former UW-Milwaukee player knows what it is. Farshaw came to the major tournaments as a striker and is still behind the plate in 30 games this year with the Diamondbacks. But in his third season in the big league, he was not just a multi-position curiosity, but an elite curiosity.
“I’m proud to be a great defensive player,” Farshaw said Monday before the D-Backs batted against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field. “It’s great that my skills benefited more from being a defensive player, defensively. Being able to take a lot of readings on the field for BP is kind of what I did to try to get a really good performance.
“(Arizona first base coach) Dave McKay is here (helped) and my dad has some resources to help me locate the feet and see what I need to do to get better.”
Work helps him get it Good jump on volleyballs Like anyone in the game.
“The Golden Glove means a lot to me,” Farshaw added. “I would really, really like to get one eventually in my career. If it’s this year, it’s going to be great; if it’s the next years, that’s what it is. All I can do is prepare and play the position as hard as I can.”
The Chilean, Wisconsin native, near Marshfield, hasn’t been quite as defensive this year, although the Brewers know his ability on the field all too well after they He ran in Tyrone Taylor’s car in Arizona on Sept. Farshaw also hit his 20th home run in that match and entered the final series of the season with 27, the team’s second-place finish. On Monday, he drove the RBI’s light-up in extra rounds, only for the Brewers to reclaim and win, 6-5.
In his first truly full season at the big league level, he hits .239 with a .754 OPS. This combined with his defensive contributions gives him a best 5.2 War on the team according to the baseball reference, even ahead of Christian Walker (36 Homers, 5.1 WAR) and Cy Young candidate Zac Gallen (2.46 ERA, 5.0 WAR).
“When I was kind of doing[catch up off the field]early on, it was kind of[about]being able to control the workload and understand what my body can handle,” Farshaw said. “It’s a bit different now that I’m a full-time player; I can do a little bit more while being able to prepare every game (on the field).”
Farshaw has not appeared behind the board since July 24 and has not started there since June; The unusual double threat ability to play catcher and midfield may not get used to its full potential for much longer. He tried beyond the catcher’s position at UW-Milwaukee and into the Northwoods League when he played for Eau Claire, but did not begin playing professionally until Class AA baseball in Jackson, Mississippi.
School years at Marshfield were interrupted by long trips to spring training
Farshaw’s father, Gary, appeared in eight MLB seasons from 1988-95, playing for the Cubs, Pirates, Reds and Phillies, but shortly after Daulton’s birth, Gary was appointed manager of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, then affiliated with the Seattle Mariners.
The Rattlers played the playoffs two years prior to Gary’s move to the Phillies organisation, rising up the series to becoming a bench coach for the big club from 2002-2006 and even serving as interim manager in 2004.
“I just remember being in the club with some great Phillies at the time: Jim Thom, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Kenny Lofton, Chase Utley…There were a lot of great Phillies at that point,” Doulton said. “It was great being around these guys, learning a little bit and trying to take it all in and understand how amazing the lifestyle is and see how special it is.”
Farshaw is named after former Phillies catcher Darren Doulton, whom Gary Farshaw became close to during his playing days.
The school years at Farshaw were a mess once Gary returned to the major leagues as a coach. He would start his studies in Marshfield (also where Gary attended high school), fly to Florida for spring training and attend school there for two months, then come home for the end of school before heading back to Philadelphia for the summer.
“It was a bit of a different upbringing, but it was so great to be able to do that and be with guys at the club and my dad so much,” said Farshaw.
Gary Farshaw continued professional scouting until 2021 before returning to Wisconsin. Daulton’s sisters, Andie (softball at Purdue) and Taylor (basketball at Colorado State before moving to Sioux Falls) both had excellent athletic careers as well, and Taylor (Marshfield’s all-time top scorer) She became the Marshfield girls’ basketball coach in 2018.
Daulton didn’t follow in his father’s footsteps to play baseball at UW-Oshkosh, but instead headed to UW-Milwaukee, where he became the All-American second team and starred for three seasons.
“I love soccer, so these are two of my major sports, but I knew by my size I wouldn’t follow up very much after high school with soccer because these boys are a little bit older than me,” said Farshaw — 10lbs and 207lbs. Ali, so it’s great to choose myself.
“I chose UW-Milwaukee just because I liked (coach) Scotty Duvic. … A lot of other coaches didn’t want to catch up with me because they said I was too young and didn’t have an arm to do it. He trusted the player who thought I could be “.
Currently, Farshaw is the only UW-Milwaukee player to have competed in the major leagues, but he hopes that will change soon. Marshfield teammate, Marshfield alumnus Trevor Schweick, reached grade AAA with the Toronto Blue Jays this year, and former Germantown pitcher Brian Keeler reached grade AAA with the Red Sox.
As part of a plentiful MLB-level Wisconsin community, Farshaw regularly meets fellow Western National League player Gavin Lux, a Kenosha Indian Trail graduate who counts the Dodgers among this year’s World Championship favorites.
“He puts up some really good numbers for the Dodgers, trying to make himself an everyday guy out there,” Farshaw said, adding that he trains off-season with former Brewers pitcher (now Rice) JB Verizin of River Falls and often chats with Terin Vavra from Menomoni, now with the Orioles.
JR Radcliffe can be reached at (262) 361-9141 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @JRRadcliffe.