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Red Report - Brandon Finnegan

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After finally getting a full try as a starter, will Brandon Finnegan take the next step in 2017?

MLB: Cincinnati Reds-Workouts Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports

Fast Facts

Position: Pitcher
Bats: Left, Throws: Left
Height: 5' 11", Weight: 200 lb.

High School: Southwest High School (Fort Worth, TX)
College: Texas Christian University (Junior year: NCBWA and Rawlings/ABCA 2nd team All-American; Louisville Slugger/Baseball America/Perfect Game 3rd team All-American; 1st Team All-Big 12)

Organizational Information

Drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 1st round (17th pick) of the 2014 amateur draft.
Signed June 28, 2014
Debut: September 6, 2014
Rookie Status: Exceeded rookie limits during 2015 season
2017 Contract Status: Pre-Arb
Arb Eligible: 2019
Free Agent: 2022

Transactions

July 26, 2015: Traded by the Kansas City Royals with Cody Reed (minors) and John Lamb to the Cincinnati Reds for Johnny Cueto and cash.

Career Stats

2016 Pitch F/X (Charts!)

Scouting (GIFs!)

Some of this:

Which is great!

But also, there was a lot of this:

Which is less than optimal if you’re a Reds fan. Also, this happened once:

2017 Projections

SOURCE IP ERA FIP WHIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 fWAR
SOURCE IP ERA FIP WHIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 fWAR
Depth Charts 170.0 4.42 4.66 1.38 8.24 3.86 1.35 1.4
Steamer 170.0 4.61 4.76 1.45 8.28 4.27 1.34 1.2
Fans 183.0 3.96 4.60 1.30 8.07 3.64 1.33 1.4
ZiPS 151.3 4.22 4.55 1.31 8.21 3.45 1.37 1.4

Outlook

What to make of Brandon Finnegan?

Several times last season, Finnegan flashed brilliance. There was that time in April where he nearly no-hit the eventual World Champion Cubs. Then, in May, he allowed only one run to the Dodgers while trying to out-dueling the game’s best pitcher, Clayton Kershaw. In August, he shut’em down again, allowing only one hit.

Of course, this was the same guy that allowed the fourth most home runs in the National League. He led all NL pitchers in HR/9 (1.52), and brought home the, um, trophy in BB/9, too (4.4).

In his first legitimate chance as a full-time starter, Finnegan threw 172 innings (good!), but he only made it through the seventh inning in a game four times, and in nearly half of his starts, didn’t even make it through six full (bad!).

But, I guess the first thought in that last graph is the point: 2016 was the first time he hadn’t had his role changed halfway through a season. The Reds stuck him in the rotation from day one and let it ride. He rewarded them by being about as durable as a guy can be over the course of 162 games. Remember, there’s a lot to appreciate about the pitcher who lived.

He’ll pitch basically the entirety of 2017 at only 24-years-old. He’s already proven he can make adjustments; his second half stats dwarf his numbers from the first half of 2016, thanks in large part to a new change-up grip taught to him by the dearly departed Dan Straily.

A huge key for Finnegan will be cutting down the home runs allowed in 2017, which is no easy task when you pitch half of your games in Great American Ballpark. He’s also going to have to lower his walk rate, because he probably can’t count on striking guys out at nearly 25% like he did at the end of last year.

But you know this. Brandon Finnegan knows this. And, even as well as he adjusted last summer after the All-Star break, you better be damn sure that the league will adjust back. It’s what Finnegan does with that that will ultimately determine his place among the Reds starters. In 2017 and beyond.

The thing about Finnegan; you’re not going to find anyone in the league more confident than he is about becoming great.

“These guys are the best in the world. You have to have confidence you're the best in the world, too. That's how I was brought up and that's how I feel,” Finnegan recently relayed to C. Trent at the Enquirer.

So, outlook? Aside from a monumental meltdown, I’m not sure anything will particularly surprise me about Brandon Finnegan’s final line in 2017. If the second half of 2016 is any indicator, his 2017 will be fun to watch.