It’s only been a little over two months since Brandon Finnegan was playing his last game in a TCU uniform.
That was June 19 at the College World Series, just two weeks after the Kansas City Royals had selected the left-hander from Southwest High School with the 17th pick in the major league draft.
The first-place Royals, smack in the middle of their first playoff race in nearly 30 years, called up Finnegan, 21, on Monday.
He’s the first Royals draft pick to join the major league roster the same year he was drafted since 1993, the year Finnegan was born.
Finnegan’s quick rise through the Royals system began with his first start on July 10 with High A Wilmington and ended August 29 with Double A Northwest Arkansas.
His combined numbers were great (2.25 ERA in 15 innings with 13 strikeouts) but he still had no idea he was headed to Kansas City.
“Not at all,” said Finnegan, surrounded by television cameras and local media in front of his locker. “After I got drafted, I was just ready to start my pro career. I wasn’t expecting it to be this fast, but it’s definitely an honor.”
Finnegan’s mother was in Northwest Arkansas to watch his last two Double A games and followed Brandon in her own car for the three-hour drive up to KC. Finnegan was told of his callup before Sunday’s game.
“It’s definitely awesome,” he said. “I just have to keep doing what I’ve been doing. I know there are a lot of high expectations since they took me first in the draft. If I live up to my own expectations, I’ll live up to theirs for sure.”
Finnegan said he hasn’t been told how he’ll be used out of the bullpen. He doesn’t mind, but he’d love to get his first taste sooner rather than later.
“I’d love to get in there and get it out of the way. It’s not official until you get that first outing out of way,” he said. “Yeah, it’s the same game, but a lot more people in the stands.”
He’s love to get his first appearance against the Rangers, his favorite team growing up. But if that doesn’t happen in the series finale on Wednesday night, Finnegan wouldn’t mind making his debut at Yankee Stadium against Derek Jeter, where the Royals play this weekend. His dad and brother flew into KC earlier this week, but had to return to jobs. His mother is flying to New York to hopefully see him make his debut.
“I grew up watching some of these guys so it’s crazy,” he said. “Going to New York and playing against Jeter, I mean that’s crazy. That’s definitely biggest difference [playing in the major league]. It’s a little bit intimidating, but if I do my thing I’ll be fine. Its’ still the same game. It’s still baseball, that’s the way I have to look at it. Whenever my name is called I’ll be ready.”