Yesterday, it was announced that the Kansas City Royals have signed seventeenth overall pick Brandon Finnegan. Finnegan will reportedly receive the full signing bonus allotment for his slot, just over $2.2 Million, and will begin his professional career with the Wilmington Blue Rocks in approximately ten days.
At the introductory press conference, there was the typical banter about how Finnegan plans on getting as high up the system as possible and how he has confidence that he will be able to contribute at the major league level soon. Dayton Moore stated that they expect Finnegan to excel and get professional hitters out, as one would expect from a first round pick. Hardly anything new worthy there.
However, there was one section that stood out. Even though the Royals plan on limiting Finnegan to approximately 45 to 50 innings this summer, they have not stated at what level he will be pitching those at. Even though Finnegan is initially ticketed for Wilmington, that does not mean that he will stay in Delaware long. In fact, if Finnegan performs well, he could even see time in Kansas City this year.
Of course, for Finnegan to arrive at the major league level, a lot would need to go right. He would likely need to get hitters out at multiple levels along the way, dominating both at Wilmington and in Arkansas at minimum. Finnegan’s injury concerns, which caused him to time in April and May, would need to be a thing of the past. Then, the Royals would need to have room for Finnegan on the 40 man roster to bring him up.
It could certainly happen. Players have been drafted and gone on to appear the the majors that same year. Despite being a starter in college, perhaps Brandon Finnegan can turn into a reliever for the Royals this season, using his mid 90′s fastball and slider to be an effective left handed option in the bullpen. With the struggles the Royals have had with left handed relievers not named Francisley Bueno this season, there would potentially be a spot open for him.
Should the Royals find themselves in playoff contention this season, Dayton Moore appears to be willing to keep all of his options open. One of those options could be using Brandon Finnegan in the bullpen when rosters expand in September. If that happens, this year’s draft class could pay almost immediate dividends.