Opening day has come and gone. Now our vision turns to overreaction week. Many teams come out of the gates on fire, only to have those fires doused before the mid-summer classic.
One thing is certain for the Cincinnati Reds, regardless of the ups and downs this season, they will be riding the hot arm of starter Brandon Finnegan. With so-called ace, Anthony DeSclafani on the shelf for the foreseeable future, Finnegan is staking claim to title of ace on this young Reds staff. Finnegan was one of the key names that the Reds acquired from the Royals in the Johnny Cueto deal in 2015.
Finnegan did the unthinkable in 2014, by pitching in the College World Series for TCU and the World Series with the Royals. Finnegan came out of the bullpen for the Royals during their postseason run, showing why he was a first round pick. Bringing him over in the Cueto deal, the Reds saw a future for the 23 year-old lefty in the rotation.
With starter Scott Feldman getting the surprising nod on opening day, it was up to Finnegan to stop the bleeding from the loss on Monday. Finnegan did just that by going out and tossing seven innings allowing just one hit against the Phillies. Finnegan added to that masterful performance by striking out nine and walking just one, over those seven innings, including retiring the last 19 batters he faced.
With the Reds in full rebuild mode, the organization will be looking for Finnegan to step up and take the reigns as the leader of the rotation. Despite his 10-11 record in 2016, Finnegan was consistently one of the better pitchers for the Reds. He was the victim of poor run support and a struggling bullpen last season. The youth movement for the Reds this year will be crucial for the organization this year and the look ahead to 2018. Finnegan is a major part of the rebuild and with six of the next seven series against division opponents, Finnegan will look to nail down the number one spot in the rotation with a few more quality starts.
With the season only three games old for the Reds, two of those three games were started by pitchers under the age of 25. One key trait that he brings to the table is that he pitches with an aggression. He uses his low to mid 90's fastball and sharp slider to keep hitters off balance. He does possess an above average changeup that will help keep hitters off target.
Even if DeSclafani makes it back into the rotation this season, the Reds will still be relying heavily on Finnegan and his experience to carry them to a solid season.