Washington Nationals: Grading the Kyle Finnegan experiment

Kyle Finnegan had never pitched in the major leagues, yet the Washington Nationals signed him to a major league contract last offseason. The risk paid off.

If you did a double take last offseason when the Washington Nationals signed pitcher Kyle Finnegan to a major league contract, you weren’t alone. I am also guessing Finnegan’s Baseball-Reference page has never seen as much traffic as it did the day he signed, December 8th.

All of this for good reason. Finnegan had never pitched an inning in the majors and had spent parts of three seasons at the Triple-A level. For a guy drafted in the sixth round of the 2013 draft, these signs would lead you to believe he’d be a guy destined to be a minor league journeyman.

Career minor leaguer, yet he was only on the market four days after becoming a minor league free agent. The Nationals signed him to a guaranteed major league deal, and the risk paid dividends.

On the roster from day one, Finnegan pitched in ten games going 10.1 innings before allowing his first run. In that game against Philadelphia, he walked three hitters. In fact, his two worst performances came at the hands of the Phillies.

Used primarily in low leverage situations coming in the middle innings, Finnegan finished the year just as hot as he started. He didn’t allow a run in his final eight appearances, covering 9.1 innings.

A 1-0 record with a 2.92 earned run average is what the Nationals have to show for gambling on a guy with no major league experience. His WHIP of 1.38 was one of the best of the relievers and he struck out more than a hitter an inning.

For a guy with an ERA of 4.03 and a losing record in the seven years he spent in the minor leagues, Kyle Finnegan proved to be a nice addition to the Washington Nationals pitching staff. He will have a job as a part of manager Dave Martinez’s bullpen in 2021.

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The Nationals were rewarded for taking a risk on this pitcher and for this they get an “A” in the grade-book for the Kyle Finnegan experiment.