In June, TCU pitcher Brandon Finnegan was drafted 17th overall by the Kansas City Royals in the 2014 MLB Draft.
“Hopefully I’m up here soon,” Finnegan told the commentators in an interview during a Royals home game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Finnegan had little time to rest after the Horned Frogs were eliminated from the College World Series. In July, he was designated to start for the Wilmington Blue Rocks, the Royals Class A Advanced affiliate in Delaware.
Finnegan didn’t stay in Wilmington for long. After giving up just five hits across five starts for the Blue Rocks, the southpaw earned a promotion to the Class AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals.
The Naturals knew the former TCU ace was on the fast track to the majors and moved him to the bullpen to prepare him for such a role.
On the last day of August, Brandon Finnegan got the call to the show.
Finnegan became the first player of the 2014 MLB Draft class to make it to the big leagues, bypassing the Royals Class AAA club in Omaha.
The Royals opened September with a three-game series against the Rangers. Finnegan looked ready to come in after warming up in the bullpen in the late innings, but never made an appearance.
Kansas City visited the New York Yankees that weekend, and when the Royals fell behind 6-2 on Saturday, Finnegan made his major league debut.
The lefty picked up two strikeouts in the sixth inning, retiring Jacoby Ellsbury and Yankee legend Derek Jeter.
Andy McCullough, a reporter for the Kansas City Star, was impressed by Finnegan’s presence on the mound as a rookie.
“He feels like he belongs,” McCullough said. “It’s just a matter of not freaking out when you’re on the mound facing David Ortiz. He hasn’t really shown any signs of doing that.”
The following weekend when the Red Sox played the Royals, Finnegan struck out David Ortiz, as well as Yoenis Céspedes twice, earning the rookie his first major league Gatorade bath.
On Tuesday, Finnegan retired two Chicago White Sox batters in the fifth inning to keep his ERA at a perfect 0.00.
Finnegan has now allowed two hits and struck out six in 4 1/3 innings of work.
McCullough believes Finnegan will return to Northwest Arkansas next year to work as a starter, but will stay with the Royals as a reliever through the pennant race.
“He’s their most talented left-handed pitcher right now,” McCullough said “He can help them now as they try to make the playoffs.”