TCU pitcher Brandon Finnegan was the 17th player selected Thursday in the first round of Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player draft. The Kansas City Royals took Finnegan, who was drafted for the second time. The Texas Rangers took him in the 45th round out of Fort Worth Southwest High School in 2011 but he chose to attend TCU.
About 100 friends and family, including teammates, joined Finnegan at his parents’ Fort Worth home for the announcement.
Everybody screamed when his named was called and the moment brought tears of joy from Finnegan and his parents.
“Everybody was screaming. All I could do was bust into tears,” said Finnegan, who hugged his parents, all overcome with emotion. “It’s probably only the second time I’ve seen [his father] cry. He hugged me and started crying with me.”
Finnegan (8-3) is the first TCU first-round selection since pitcher Andrew Cashner went 19th overall to the Chicago Cubs in 2008.
He is the third first-round selection and second-highest pick in Horned Frogs history. Pitcher Lance Broadway was selected No. 15 overall in 2005. Finnegan was the sixth left-handed pitcher selected Thursday night. He’s the 49th TCU player drafted (including four that were drafted twice) under coach Jim Schlossnagle since 2004.
“I’m just really excited for him,” Schlossnagle said. “Being there every day for all the work he’s put in on and off the field. You’re just so happy for him because he’s talented for sure, but he’s matched that talent with work ethic and character.
“So when you have kids like that, you want to see them get rewarded at the highest level.”
Finnegan figures to earn about $2,200,600, according to slotted allocation for his draft spot. The first overall pick is slotted to receive $7,922,100. There’s a sliding scale down to $2,035,500 for the 20th overall pick.
The Houston Astros selected lefty Brady Aiken from Cathedral Catholic High School in California as the No. 1 overall pick. TCU recruit Tyler Kolek, from Shepherd High School in East Texas, was selected as the second overall pick by the Florida Marlins.
Finnegan has held opponents to one or fewer runs in 22 of his 41 career starts at TCU.
The hard throwing junior leads the nation with an average of 12.02 strikeouts per nine innings this season and is eighth nationally with 122 strikeouts despite missing a start.
Having the draft behind him is a load off for Finnegan, who will start TCU’s opener against Pepperdine in the Fort Worth Super Regional at 3 p.m. Saturday at Lupton Stadium.
“I think it’ll help me relax a little bit more. I didn’t worry about it that much but there’s a lot of stress off my shoulders,” he said. “It’s time to go to Omaha. It’s time to win a College World Series.”