Prospect Countdown: #34 Brian Finch

Following up on our Top 50 Orioles Prospects List, ITW has a detailed scouting report on #34 Brian Finch

After a career at Texas A&M where he was used primarily in relief, the Orioles selected Brian Finch in the 2nd round of the 2003 draft. After some initial success, the Orioles used their infamous psychological testing to determine that Finch was prepared for a promotion to Double-A Bowie from Low-A Delmarva. Not surprisingly, Finch struggled and he had trouble getting his season back under control even after a demotion to Hi-A Frederick. It took him two more seasons, but Finch finally made it back to Bowie this year. He did, however, have considerably more success this time around.

DOB: 09/27/81 Height: 6-4 Weight: 195 B/T: R/R

Brian Finch's Age 24 season:

Level IP ERA K/9 BB/9 HR/9
AA 145.2 3.65 5.1 4.3 1.11
EL AVG. -- 3.81 7.4 3.2 0.76

Scouting

Brian Finch is an interesting prospect, in that it is tough to discern his optimal role. His ERA was better than league average this season, but his underlying indicators were all below average. With his 90-93 MPH sinker and solid slider, you would expect that he would miss a few more bats than he does. One problem is that he has had trouble gaining consistent command of a changeup, even after experimenting with different grips.

Finch does an excellent job with men on base (ie from the stretch), inducing 21 double plays this season. Some within the organization would like to switch him back to relief work. Unfortunately, Finch has had a lot of trouble in the first inning of his starts, so doubts remain about his ability to handle the switch mentally.

Outlook

Finch worked out of the bullpen in 9 out of 11 appearances in the Arizona Fall League, but he told ITW's John Kazlo that he would remain a starter in 2007. At 24 years old, Finch will have to prove he has a future in the rotation in short order. In the long-term, it's much more likely that he will make the parent club as a reliever, where his sinker-slider repertoire will be less exposed. Finch will certainly have to make some adjustments in his preparation, but he has all the tools to succeed.

Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via email at Publisher@InsideTheWarehouse.com


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