Brandon Finnegan

The Cincinnati Reds have a lot of young pitchers, some of them talented, but often that poses a problem: Designating them as starting pitchers or relievers heading into the future, and more competitive years? Brandon Finnegan is someone who poses such a problem.

This season, his first full season with the team after joining the Reds in 2015 from the Kansas City Royals via trade, the one that sent Johnny Cueto to the Royals, he’s start in 24 games. He’s pitched in 134.2 innings, posting a 4.54 ERA and just 1.44 strikeouts per walk. More worrying is his FIP at 5.79, and allowing 29 home runs this season, more than any other pitcher in the National League. He is only 23, but it does seem he fared better as a reliever in the past.

Manager Bryan Price still doesn’t have an answer on Finnegan: Based on what we have in our system, what we begin the year with next year, will we win more games with him as a starter or a reliever? I can say from my perspective that hasn’t been answered. 

The Reds know Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani will be starting in 2017, and Dan Straily is probably going to be part of the rotation. Who else? Robert Stephenson, Amir Garrett,Rookie Davis, John Lamb and Cody Reed seem to be in the mix, and they’re not alone. The Reds have added and developed a lot of young pitching talent to lock their rotation in the next few years, but figuring out who fits where is a very difficult task.

For now, Finnegan, who has a WAR of just 0.8, looks like he’ll be a bullpen player in the immediate future, unless he shows something new in the final two months of the season. He’s only available for arbitration after the 2018 season, and can’t hit free agency before 2021.

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