TCU’s main color is purple, which represents royalty. That could not be more fitting for the Royals of Kansas City, as they selected Brandon Finnegan 17th overall in 2014 MLB Draft Thursday night.
The left-handed pitcher is a Fort Worth native that currently leads the team in strikeouts with 122, and he also has an earned run average (ERA) of 2.08. The 5’11" junior maybe a little undersized, but he has played a major role in the success of this year’s squad. He was named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week after his first start this season. He threw 7 shutout innings in a 5-0 win over Jacksonville, and recorded a career-high, 13 strikeouts.
Finnegan was originally drafted in the 45th round in 2011. Three years later, he jumped 44 rounds all the way up to 17th pick overall. Finnegan has an extremely strong lower half of his body and he is able to use that to his advantage for an explosive delivery and to create deception from a hitter. Finnegan is a three-pitch pitcher, with a fastball, slider and changeup. His fastball averages mid-90s, but can get as high as 98mph. His slider is more like a "slurve" that breaks late through the zone, and his changeup lacks movement, but is deceptive as his arm movement is similar to his fastball.
Finnegan is a great selection for the Kansas City Royals, as they are in need of pitching. Finnegan is the first left-handed pitcher selected in the 1st round by the Royals in a decade, as they took University of Texas’ J.P. Howell in 2004. Howell, like all but one of the pitchers drafted in the 1st round by the Royals since 2004, made his MLB debut within two years of being drafted. This is a really good sign for Finnegan, as only 4 of the 13 pitchers on the active roster are left-handed. Finnegan has good stuff, but I believe there is more potential to see him in a setup role or eventually as a closer. He has the one-two pitch combination you are looking for in that position with his fastball and slider.
All in all, Finnegan is currently a Horned Frog. He has been named the game 1 starter for the Super Regional in Fort Worth versus Pepperdine on Saturday. He definitely deserves to celebrate tonight, and then I am sure it will be back to business as usual tomorrow. Finnegan told TCU360 earlier this week, "I’m hoping [the journey ends] with us winning a national championship." The rest of the TCU community is hoping for the same.
Congratulations and good luck to Brandon Finnegan for being selected as one of the best players in this year’s MLB Draft.