Royals top pick Brandon Finnegan throws bullpen, headed to minors

A flight awaited Brandon Finnegan on Monday morning, the first leg on a trip to Class A Wilmington. But Finnegan, the team’s first-round pick in this month’s draft, stopped by the ballpark on Sunday morning, and threw a bullpen session.

One curious observer was manager Ned Yost.

"He had a nice changeup," Yost said. "A nice slider. Nice two-seamer, nice fastball. Kept the ball down, commanded the ball pretty good. He looks like he’s a real competitor. He looks like he’s got a lot of passion for what he’s doing."

The team projects Finnegan can throw about 45 to 50 innings in his first professional season. The 5-11 left-hander from Texas Christian University threw 105 2/3 frames for a Horned Frogs team that reached the College World Series.

Now he faces the challenge of professional hitters. Yost understands how far the climb can last.

"When you’re in college, you’re concerned with probably the No. 3 and the No. 4 hitter," Yost said. "Now, where he’s going, the whole lineup’s going to be college No. 3 and No. 4 hitters. And it’s going to continue to be like that.

"But it’s fun. He’s anxious to get going. He’s anxious to start competing. And make his way here to the big leagues."

To reach Andy McCullough, call 816-234-4370 or send email to rmccullough@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @McCulloughStar.