Brandon Finnegan Could Be Part of KC Royals Bullpen
By David Hill
The prevailing wisdom in regards to Brandon Finnegan is that he will begin the season in the minor leagues. While he was a true asset in the bullpen during the stretch run, and the subsequent playoffs for the Royals, the general narrative is that Finnegan will be of far more value to the Royals as a starter in a couple of years, as opposed to his remaining in a relief role.
For some reason, it seems as though the two roles are considered mutually exclusive. That for Finnegan to be a starter eventually, he will need to pitch in the minors before coming back in a major league rotation. Yet, if it turns out that Finnegan can help the Royals this season in the bullpen, why would the Royals send him to the minor leagues? Why potentially bypass an opportunity to not only continue the success of 2014, but to maybe improve upon that success?
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It is certainly something that is on the mind of Ned Yost. Instead of buying in to the theory that Brandon Finnegan, the 17th overall selection of the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft, should be in the minors, Yost is more concerned with something else far more important. To Yost, the question is – can Finnegan help him win more games this year? In fact, Yost doubts the wisdom of sending Finnegan down automatically.
"“People that think that way don’t have to win ballgames here,” Yost said. “We do. We have to do whatever we need to do to win baseball games.”"
Yost is absolutely correct with this statement, and Finnegan’s performance in Spring Training may well prove it. While the Royals bullpen appears to be much better than it was last year heading into the season, there are still questions in regards to who will be the left handed reliever(s). Tim Collins, as of this point, may be the only one on the roster, and he was not a given least year. With a solid Spring, could Finnegan take that role?
This may be a lot more conceivable than one would have initially thought. Brandon Finnegan proved his worth last season during the Royals quest for the postseason, albeit in a small sample size. However, he did not let the moment get to him, despite the fact that Finnegan was pitching for his college team only four months before.
The Royals may have themselves another bullpen weapon in Finnegan. Even if the plan is him to eventually be a starter in Kansas City, that does not mean that he cannot fill a relief role this season, especially when he could be another power arm, this time from the left hand side, on a team still in need of one.
Putting Brandon Finnegan in the bullpen for a year would not be a waste. It would be a waste if Finnegan could help the Royals, yet was not allowed to do so because he is being boxed in as a starter.