It appears as though the Kansas City Royals are not taking any chances with any possible punishment that will be handed down by Major League Baseball for the brawl last night. Perhaps with an eye towards minimizing the damage of potential suspensions for Yordano Ventura and Edinson Volquez for their actions, the Royals have called up Brandon Finnegan, optioning Orlando Calixte back to Omaha.
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Finnegan certainly impressed last season, rising rapidly through the Royals minor leagues after being drafted 17th overall. A September callup, Finnegan struck out ten batters in seven innings, turning into that lefty reliever the Royals needed last season. Finnegan was in contention for that final spot in the bullpen this season before being sent to Northwest Arkansas to be stretched back out as a starter.
In his two outings this season at AA, spanning seven innings, Brandon Finnegan has not been the same dominant pitcher he was last season. He has given up seven runs, but his ERA still looks decent because four of those runs were unearned. The control that allowed Finnegan to walk a mere four batters in 27 minor league innings last season just has not been there, as he has allowed five walks already.
Perhaps this is just a matter of Finnegan needing to stretch himself out and find comfort in being in the starting role once again. However, given his struggles at Northwest Arkansas, it is difficult to think that the Kansas City Royals would plug him into the rotation should either Ventura or Volquez, or both, face a suspension. Instead, those starts would likely go to Chris Young or Yohan Pino.
This time, Brandon Finnegan is being asked to be an insurance policy, albeit an insurance policy that happens to be a lefty with a fastball in the mid to upper 90’s. It may not be a surprise to see Finnegan again appear in a reasonably high leverage situation coming out of the bullpen, especially if he shows that he can perform at that same level he did back in September.
It was expected that, at some point in time, Brandon Finnegan would likely join the Kansas City Royals again this season, perhaps as a September callup once again. This time, he is up quite a bit earlier than expected, and under much different circumstance.