The Kansas City Royals promoted lefty Brian Flynn to the major league roster late last week. He threw four innings of relief against the Cleveland Indians last Friday, giving up three hits and two walks for two runs, while fanning a pair. For circumstantial reasons Flynn has been overlooked as rookies go this year. To be perfectly honest, Flynn wasn't on my prospect list pre-season because I thought he had exceeded rookie eligibility in 2013-2014 with the Marlins. That wasn't correct; he is still a rookie, so let's fix that oversight.
Flynn was originally drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the seventh round in 2011 out of Wichita State University. A solid performer in A-ball, he was traded to the Miami Marlins in July 2012 as part of the Anibal Sanchez/Omar Infante/Jacob Turner deal. He had an excellent season in 2013, posting a combined 2.63 ERA with a 147/43 K/BB in 161 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, then made four big league starts for the Marlins with weak results (8.50 ERA).
After another season split between Triple-A and the majors in 2014, Flynn was traded to the Royals for Aaron Crow. Unfortunately he missed almost the entire 2015 season with a torn oblique. He's healthy now and was pitching adequately at Triple-A Omaha before his promotion (3.94 ERA, 14/9 K/BB in 16 innings).
Flynn is a huge 6-7, 250 pound lefty born April 19, 1990. The Tulsa native was well-known to Midwest area scouts in high school and college due to his size and solid low-90s fastball but needed to progress his secondary pitches. He has a very good change-up, probably a plus pitch, and the combination with his hard sinker works well. Flynn's breaking stuff is still just fair; he has both a slider and a curve but neither are excellent. The slider has some good moments but isn't consistent. The fastball, change-up, and the occasional fringy breaking pitch to keep hitters honest are still enough for him to be a decent pitcher when his command is on.
His major league numbers so far (8.07, 23/18 K/BB in 29 innings, 42 hits) are pretty ugly, but most of that is from five starts with the Marlins. Let's see what he does with a bullpen role, which is how the Royals prefer him. His starting background means you can stretch him out a bit compared to the typical short reliever, making him an ideal long man if his control holds up.
For some reason there's a shortage of public video for Flynn, but this clip from 2014 shows him breaking off a pretty good slider for a strikeout.