Sunday, March 2, 2014

2014 Bold Predictions: Kyle Finnegan

The 2012 Draft crop graced Oakland with a plentiful array of collegiate arms to replenish their farm system following the departure of Sonny Gray and Dan Straily to the major leagues, most noticeably that of Dylan Covey, Bobby Wahl and Dillon Overton who instantaneously have roosted atop the organizational prospect rankings currently for the A's. Additionally plopped into the A's possession was Kyle Finnegan, their 6th round selection and an upstart from Texas State who had utilized his thunderous 96-97 MPH velocity to screech past fellow draftees into the upper echelon of amateur arms, despite being plagued by mechanical inconsistency that haunted him for lackluster statistical outputs in the southwest. It was a potential exclusive selection by Oakland, who chose the Kingwood native and immediately slotted him in Vermont to commence his professional career. After a remarkable campaign in the NYPL, he sputtered through his initial few Beloit outings, similarly to Dylan Covey, and entered the instructional league phase to better tweak his delivery. Upon departing, it was established that Finnegan arguably had the most noticeable improvement from the month long festivities in Papago, spurning Scott Emerson, Oakland's MiLB pitching coordinator, to state that he now wields three plus offerings with his changeup/curveball secondaries having drastically improved. His stride was shortened and evidently assisted with his curveball movement while not altering his velocity, now seemingly slated to permanently be retained within a rotation format as opposed to a bullpen role, as so many expected him to conform to. Unlikely to ascend to Stockton initially for 2014, Finnegan shall flaunt his revised repertoire while housed in Pohlman Field for the Snappers to begin the 2014 campaign, yet could rapidly transition onward to Stockton should he perform versus the Midwest League offenses that stifled him through his September stint within Wisconsin. 

Kyle Finnegan earns a MWL All-Star berth, rises to Stockton, and develops into one of the premier breakthrough performers of the 2014 season. 

Despite a tumultuous junior campaign in San Marcos, Finnegan was flawless with the Lake Monsters upon grappling with professional competition for the first instance in his career. Through his first seven Vermont outings, Finnegan amassed 27 2/3 IP with a 19:5 K/BB and stymied opposing batters with 20 base hits and a mere 5 XBH hit off the 6'2", 180 pounder, including a .190/.227/.248 slash against him prior to August. Afterwards, Finnegan would succumb to a bout of regression despite opening the month with a remarkable 8 1/3 IP effort versus Hudson Valley, demonstrating his rotation potential after gradually accumulating innings from his two inning debut to his 6 2/3 IP outing to conclude July. He would partake in four more outings before he was summoned to Wisconsin, compiling a NYPL résumé of 50 IP between 11 starts with a 17.4% K%, 6.0% BB%, 2.58 FIP and zero dingers permitted to complement a 1.80 GB/FB. Upon arriving in Beloit though, Finnegan foundered through a forgetful debut against Clinton, permitting five walks through 5 1/3 IP before another dismal start versus Quad Cities in which he allowed his first professional HR and was BABIP'd into oblivion through a meager 2 1/3 frames. He'd have a rematch against QC in the postseason, once more in a mediocre attempt with a cumulative 3 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 1 K, 4 GB/1 FB performance in a victory to force a third contest in the MWL western division finale. Finnegan's precision completely dissolved with a 12:16 K/BB through his final five attempts (18 1/3 IP) after a 29:6 K/BB mark in his first nine starts (41 IP). Fatigue could've been prevalent for the righty after a collegiate season immediately prior to donning an A's uniform, and should fare considerably more evenly upon his Midwest League encore now that he's had an offseason to recuperate. With the mechanical revision now applied and a sensational instructional league tallied, Finnegan ought to showcase his Vermont excellence with the Snappers come April in a campaign that could see him rehash Alcantara's dominance as Beloit's opening day rotation frontliner who stampeded to prominence with a phenomenal stint in the MWL before a Stockton promotion. The 22 year old Finnegan, garnering often applied and now somewhat cliched comparisons to Tim Hudson for his arsenal, shall embark upon what could certainly be a career defining season in his sophomore campaign for Oakland and should burst up to the status of Covey and Wahl as another Athletics 2013 draftee steal for the A's to boast. 

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