Prospect Profile: P.J. Finigan

Unlike the average 22 year old out of college, P.J. Finigan isn't exactly what one would call polished just yet, having thrown less than 200 innings since his graduation from high school. That won't keep the Tigers from having high hopes for the youngster.

P.J. Finigan
Position: Right Handed Pitcher Height: 6-0 Weight: 180
Born: 9/30/1982 Bats: Right Throws: Right

Background
Another 2005-draftee that joined the West Michigan bullpen immediately upon signing with the organization, Finigan came to the Tigers as a two-way standout. After a successful career at Southern Illinois that saw him star both on the mound, and at shortstop, Finigan was considered a raw talent with significant upside on draft day. P.J. only saw significant time on the mound during his senior campaign for the Salukis, logging over 100 innings and finishing with a 9-3 record against a moderately tough Missouri Valley Conference. In addition to his success on the hill, Finigan displayed some talent at the plate, posting a .388/.461/.592 line in 51 games. P.J.'s pitching and hitting exploits earned him Missouri Valley Player of the Year honors, and forced Major League teams to take serious notice. After joining the Tigers organization, Finigan pitched extremely well, helping to further solidify the ‘Caps bullpen. In 37 relief innings, P.J. posted a 2.39 ERA and a 4.5:1 strikeout to walk ratio.

Scouting Report
An inexperienced pitcher, Finigan is difficult to project at this time. Having only logged 159 collegiate innings, PJ joined the organization with a fresh, live arm that could become even better with experience. Finigan possess both a four-seem and two-seem fastball that range from 88-93 mph, and he can touch 95 on occasion. His two-seamer is the better overall pitch with late boring action in on right-handed hitters. PJ's slider is a tick above average at times, but he has trouble staying on top of it, which causes the pitch to lose both depth and tilt. PJ's best pitch is probably his change-up that he commands well within the zone, and uses appropriately during at-bats. When his change-up is at its best, Finigan has a tendency to over-use the pitch, decreasing his effectiveness. As evidenced by his success at the plate and in the field, Finigan is an exceptional athlete who repeats his mechanics well, and should continue to add strength as his lean, wiry frame matures physically. Without the split focus on playing in the field and pitching, Finigan's mental approach to pitching should improve.

Performance

Level

Team

W-L

ERA

G

GS

SV

SO

BB

IP

WHIP

A

West Mich.

2-2

2.39

25

0

4

32

7

37.2

1.12


Health Record
Because P.J. did not pitch extensively until his senior season, he does not have the typical wear of a 4-year collegiate pitcher. The Tigers should still remain cautious with his workloads as he becomes accustomed to logging more innings. Overall, there is little injury concern associated with Finigan's history or his delivery.

The Future
Finigan will likely join 2005 teammate Kevin Ardoin atop the West Michigan rotation in 2006. Next season will be a true test of P.J.'s durability and stamina, as it will be his first focusing solely on pitching. If he can remain strong, expect Finigan to continue improving throughout the season, with a shot at Lakeland later in the year. The Tigers are hopeful that P.J. will blossom as a pitcher very quickly. If he can continue to command the strike zone as he did with the Whitecaps (only 1.67 BB/9), he could move quickly through the system. I expect Finigan to cement himself as the best starting pitching prospect from the 2005 draft class by the end of the 2006 season.


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