The Kansas City Royals promoted left-handed pitching prospect Brandon Finnegan to the major leagues this week, making Finnegan the first player from the 2014 MLB Draft class to arrive in the Show. He'll provide bullpen support for the Royals down the pennant stretch and here's a look at what to anticipate.
Finnegan was used mainly as a starting pitcher for three seasons with the TCU Horned Frogs. He had some command issues as a freshman (3.47 ERA with a 56/30 K/BB in 62 innings) but stood out for good stuff. He improved as a sophomore (3.18 ERA, 86/35 K/BB in 79 innings), then took a huge step forward as a junior in 2014 (2.04 ERA, 134/29 K/BB in 106 innings, just 79 hits).
He was viewed as a Top 10 and possibly Top 5 pick for much of the spring, but a late bout of shoulder soreness threw a wrench in the works, dropping him to the 17th-overall choice. Although kept on a strict pitch count in pro ball, he's been brilliant in his first looks at pro hitters, posting a combined 26/4 K/BB in 27 innings between High-A Wilmington and Double-A Northwest Arkansas. He was used in relief in the Texas League and posted a 13/2 K/BB in 12 innings with a 2.25 ERA.
Born April 14, 1993, the 5-11, 185 pound lefty was clocked as high as 98 MPH In college and has worked in the mid-90s in pro ball, with movement. He has a wicked slider (learned from Carlos Rodon) and has made dramatic improvements in his command and control since his freshman year. He has a decent change-up as well, and while his arsenal is diverse enough for him to start, many believe that he'll fit best as a closer in the long run due to his smallish frame and high-effort delivery.
Check out the movement on his pitches in this Fangraphs video.
There's no question about Finnegan's stuff and his track record is strong. He's thrown strikes all year and doesn't seem like the type of guy who will need a lot of minor league seasoning. His long-term outlook depends mainly on his health and workload management. In the short run, he'll provide an unusually good power left-side arm for September. Even if he doesn't contribute much down the stretch, getting him at 17th overall could wind up being a huge coup for Kansas City.