Reds news: Former first-round pick Brandon Finnegan draws the start

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Brandon Finnegan (29) prepares to throw a pitch.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Brandon Finnegan (29) prepares to throw a pitch. /

Believe it or not, Brandon Finnegan is still part of the Cincinnati Reds organization. The former first-round pick draws the start in today’s Cactus League game against the Oakland Athletics at Hohokam Stadium.

The game is set to begin at 3 PM ET, and several of the Reds’ regulars who were absent from yesterday’s game against the Cleveland Indians are in David Bell’s starting lineup today. However, Mark Sheldon of reported that Jesse Winker was a late-scratch due to a sore right hip.

Brandon Finnegan gets his chance for the Reds.

While I don’t expect Brandon Finnegan to last much past the second or third inning, it’s great to see him back on the diamond after the coronavirus pandemic wiped out the minor league season in 2020. Finnegan saw action ini five games last spring before Cactus League play was shutdown due to COVID-19.

In those five games, Finnegan went just four innings, allowed three earned runs on four hits and struck out four batters. The southpaw posted a 6.45 ERA and was likely ticketed to begin the 2020 season in Double-A Chattanooga.

Brandon Finnegan hasn’t appeared in a major-league game since 2018. Finnegan had a dreadful start to that season and pitched in just five starts, totaling 20.2 innings of work, an ERA of 7.40 and a 2.032 WHIP.

The left-hander didn’t fair much better at Triple-A. After his demotion to the Louisville Bats, Finnegan went 2-10 in 28 appearances and allowed 12 hits per nine innings pitched. He struck out just 57 batters over 67.2 innings.

Does Brandon Finnegan have a chance to make this year’s Reds team?

Brandon Finnegan has never been short on talent. There were always concerns over his delivery, and some scouts often wondered if he’d be a better option out of the bullpen rather than a starter. If Finnegan has any hopes of making this year’s Cincinnati Reds roster, it would definitely be as a reliever.

Having a reliable lefty in the bullpen is nothing to sneeze. However, the key word there is reliable. That’s something that hasn’t been associated with Brandon Finnegan in some time. Hopefully the former TCU Horned Frog has found his game and will impress the fans and coaching staff this spring.

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Finnegan will get his chance this afternoon with the Reds second Cactus League game of the season slated to kick off 3 PM ET. Finnegan’s chances of making the Opening Day roster free pretty slim, but a strong showing today might help to change that perception.