AUSTIN, Texas – TCU junior lefthanded pitcher Brandon Finnegan isn't a finished product, but his progressions throughout the spring have head coach Jim Schlossnagle and scouts excited about the possibilities down the stretch, and this summer, should Finnegan, a projected first-round pick, decide to sign.
This was my second opportunity to see Finnegan this season, with this go-round being exponentially more impressive. The first performance I saw from Finnegan this spring was against hard-hitting Sam Houston State at the Houston College Classic. Finnegan displayed very good velocity, getting up to 95 mph with his fastball, but command lacked on all of his offerings, and he allowed five runs on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings. Even in what was perceived a less than stellar performance, Finnegan still struck out 11 against the Bearkats.
Fast-forward to Finnegan's performance against Texas last weekend in a crucial Big 12 road series. With the conditions in the upper-50s with heavy mist, it was easy to not expect too much from Finnegan or Texas righthanded pitcher Parker French. Finnegan, though, put together his best performance of the season on the way to a 3-0 victory.
“Finnegan, like most elite pitchers, is one of those guys you better jump on early, and tonight, he settled in,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “The thing about Brandon. We hear so much about his fastball, but it's his overall command and his breaking stuff that was the most impressive in this performance.”
Finnegan has the potential to get up to 95-97 mph with his fastball, but kept things steady at 91-93, and up to 94 against the Longhorns, resulting in better command of the offering. Most impressive about Finnegan's fastball is that it had life at the top and bottom of the strike zone, while the lefty also did a terrific job of spotting up the pitch on the outside corner of the plate.
Finnegan's slider was a plus offering against the Longhorns. He sat 82-84 with the pitch, and was just devastating against lefthanded hitters, striking out at least one UT hitter on three-straight sliders, all breaking sharply to the outside part of the plate. Meanwhile, Finnegan also consistently threw an 81-82 mph changeup, while his 75-77 curveball, a pitch that he used often in Houston earlier this year, wasn't a go-to pitch, particularly early in the game as he tried to get into a groove.
The lefthander's elite stuff set the foundation for a huge road series sweep. He finished the night striking out 11, walking one and allowing just four hits in eight shutout innings. Finnegan threw 116 pitches, 76 for strikes, and has a 1.56 ERA in 69 1/3 innings, along with 95 strikeouts and 18 walks.
Finnegan ranks as the No. 8 college prospect by Perfect Game as the Major League Baseball draft nears.
Additional analysis, notes and buzz are included below for intriguing prospects/players at UCF, Texas A&M, TCU (Riley Ferrell), Rice, UAB, Ole Miss, Florida State, Virginia and Duke.
• UCF junior lefthanded pitcher Eric Skoglund has taken a big step forward this season, and for that, is garnering more attention on the national stage, and particularly in the scouting realm.
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