"We liked his combination of promising tools and the pedigree he brought," said Elias. "James is a winner and a champion."
Farris helped Arizona to the 2012 NCAA championship and moved up to the No. 2 spot in the rotation this season. He went 5-5 with a 4.18 ERA in 99 innings.
"Mark Ross is our area scout and lives in Tucson, [Ariz.], so he spends a lot of time around that program and knows the kids really well," Elias said. "He raved about Farris for how he plays, but we know that the tools are there physically also to be a Major League starter. We target that potential whenever possible."
While the ERA is higher than his sophomore season's 3.97 mark, he struck out 73 and allowed only one homer as opponents hit just .240 against him in 2013.
Farris' mechanics are sound, but he's got an elongated delivery that could make him easy to steal on at the pro level. His fastball can hit the lower 90s, but a long stride and leg kick helps generate push even on his breaking pitches.
Chris Abshire is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.