Cincinnati Reds have a great piece in Brandon Finnegan in 2018

(Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images) /

In Brandon Finnegan the Cincinnati Reds have a pitcher that can close or start.

When the Cincinnati Reds acquired Brandon Finnegan from the Kansas CIty Royals in the Johnny Cueto deal, they got a pitcher that was a reliever as a professional.  The Reds knew that they wanted him to start games.  Finnegan started in college, but relieved for the Royals.

Finnegan played high school baseball in Fort Worth, Texas.  He turned down a contract from his home town Texas Rangers after they selected him in the 45th round of the 2011 draft to play for Texas Christian University.  He pitched three seasons for the Horned Frogs.

At TCU Finnegan was a starter.  He went 13-16 over those three seasons.  Finnegan pitched 247 ⅓ innings in that same period.

When the Royals drafted him in the 2014 draft, the consensus was that Finnegan deserved a chance to start.  He went directly to the bullpen.  He made his MLB debut on September 6.  

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When the calendar turned to 2015, Finnegan was in the minors as a starting pitcher.  He only made one MLB start for the Reds the rest of the season following his trade.  Since then Finnegan has only made appearances as a non-starter for the Reds.

The Cincinnati Reds had high hopes for Brandon Finnegan, but their hopes were dashed early.

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Heading into spring training, Finnegan was on the short list for the Opening Day start.  The Reds quickly took him off of that list to avoid mental stress.  He was obviously the Reds’ ace, however.

Finnegan only made four starts all season long because of injuries.  He only pitched 13 innings all season.  He went 1-1 with an ERA of 4.15, which is about right.  Unfortunately, like so many Reds’ pitchers in 2017, Finnegan injured himself and couldn’t finish out the season.

Unfortunately, Finnegan was supposedly the one pitcher that the Reds could count on in 2017.  He was the only starter to make every scheduled start in the rotation for the Reds in 2016.  That didn’t happen in 2017.

The great news is that Finnegan appears ready for a normal off-season as the calendar heads towards Thanksgiving.  Whether the Reds want him to start or relieve, Finnegan has time to prepare.  The Reds likely need him more as a starter.

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That’s the full circle that Finnegan’s career has made, from starter to reliever to starter to…  He will fill the role the Reds need as he enters his third full MLB season.  Hopefully, that includes health in 2018 and beyond.