Lefty Brandon Finnegan, a 2014 draft pick, jumped onto the KC Royals top prospects list at number six even before reaching the big leagues and only after a few appearances.
After being selected 17th overall, Finnegan went right to High-A Wilmington and fit in nicely with the group already there. As a Blue Rock, he started games, working up to four innings in his last two starts (15IP, 5H, R, HR, 2BB, 13K).
After a promotion to Double-A, he moved into the bullpen. It was an up-and-down debut with NW Arkansas (one good, after one bad). In three outings (totaling four innings), he allowed nine runs (three earned) on ten hits and two walks while striking out seven. In his other five relief appearances with the Naturals, Finnegan allowed five hits and walked zero while striking out six in eight scoreless innings.
September brought a big league callup and the rest is history. Finnegan became the only pitcher in history to pitch in both the College World Series and the Major League World Series in the same year (about four months apart).
How high is Finnegan’s ceiling? It depends on how the Royals use him.
If he stays in the bullpen, he will continue to pitch in the big leagues in 2015. With the amount of money the Royals used to sign him, he should shift back to the rotation.
Have patience Royals fans!
A shift back to the rotation means Finnegan will need seasoning in the minors. He only faced hitters more than once though the order in the same game twice since joining the professional ranks.
If Finnegan can iron out his delivery (the effort leads to control issues and questions about his durability), he will be in the big leagues for a long time.
Stay tuned tomorrow for a look back at #5.