During the press conference to announce the signing of seventeenth overall selection Brandon Finnegan, it was mentioned that he could possibly help the Royals during a postseason push this season. Dayton Moore was adamant about leaving any possible option open, including utilizing Finnegan. Yet, as a draft choice this season, the idea that Finnegan could be pitching in the majors seemed a bit far fetched.
However, it turns out that Moore may have been clairvoyant when he said that Finnegan could make an appearance this season. He dominated during his time in Wilmington, putting together a 0.60 ERA and a 0.467 WHiP in 15 innings, with the only run he allowed being a home run. Finnegan allowed only five hits and two walks, striking out 13 batters. He simply overpowered the Carolina League.
Promoted to the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, Brandon Finnegan has not been quite as good as he was in Wilmington. However, he has still put forth a solid showing, posting a 1.59 ERA and a 1.412 WHiP. Although he has pitched only 5.1 innings, he has struck out four batters while only allowing one walk, showing that his command appears to have remained intact.
While there are concerns with Finnegan at this point, specifically the two home runs he has allowed for Northwest Arkansas, he does not appear prone to the long ball. Finnegan has only seen 18.2% of his plate appearances end with a fly ball that reaches the outfield. This comes on the heels of his performance in Wilmington, when only 20.6% of those plate appearances had that same result.
Split across two levels, Brandon Finnegan has displayed a marked tendency towards being a ground ball pitcher, producing a 48.2% ground ball rate. With the Royals infield defense behind him, and the spacious confines of Kauffman Stadium, Finnegan could actually make an impact during the playoff run. He certainly appears to be producing the results needed in order to continue climbing up the ladder.
After he was signed, Dayton Moore mentioned that he wanted Brandon Finnegan to have between 40 and 50 innings of work this season. If he keeps pitching this well, some of those could be in Kansas City.