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Interview with newly-signed White Sox reliever Brandon Finnegan

by Joe Binder

Since the lockout began, the White Sox have remained active with a pair of minor league deals. Of the two guys who they’ve signed, the most recent is relief pitcher Brandon Finnegan.

You may recognize the name because Finnegan was the 17th overall pick of Kansas City back in the 2014 MLB Draft. In that same year, the lefty not only appeared in the College World Series with TCU but also the MLB World Series with the Royals that October. The impressive feat marked the first time anyone in the sport has appeared in both events during the same season, capping off a year of milestones for the then 21-year-old.

A half-year later, Finnegan was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 2015 and remained in the organization through this past season. Though he hasn’t appeared in major league action since 2018, the southpaw is looking for a fresh start with the White Sox. There’s even some buzz already mounting around this signing, especially given Ethan Katz’s past success with young pitchers.

To learn more about who the Sox are getting in Finnegan, we were fortunate enough to catch up with the newly signed pitcher himself!

To start, can you tell the readers a little bit about yourself – where did you grow up, when did you start playing baseball, and when did you decide that you wanted to make a career out of it?

I’m from Fort Worth, Texas, born and raised. I started playing baseball when I was around four years old and fell in love with it the moment I started. My dream was always to be a professional baseball player and make it to the big leagues.

It was just a whirlwind of a year for me. I had a lot of success in baseball that year. Getting drafted 17th overall was awesome and I remember it like it was yesterday. My dream came true of becoming a professional baseball player. I got drafted out of high school in 2011, but it was in the 45th round. I clearly wasn’t ready for that life, so I chose to go to TCU and it worked out in my favor. But going to the College World Series and MLB World Series are two things people dream of doing in a lifetime and I was fortunate enough to d it all in the same year.

I will forever remember that year like it just happened because it’s still so hard to believe it even did happened. I’m thankful for every chance I was given that year between TCU and the Royals.

As mentioned previously, you attended TCU and appeared in the College World Series there. How do you think your time in college prepared you for your professional career?

TCU taught me how to become a man and do things the right way, first and foremost. But Coach Schloss, Coach Saarloos, Coach Mosiello, and Coach Ethridge all helped me out on and off the field. They really challenged me in school and on the field. And I love being challenged so I took it seriously and they got me to be the player I am today. They taught me that if I put the work in behind the scenes, that’s when the competition came and it’d be easier to succeed.

For the fans who might not be familiar, how would you describe yourself as a pitcher and what do you think you can bring to the White Sox organization?

I would describe myself as a huge competitor on the field. I love winning and hate losing even more. I go out there and leave it all on the line every time I touch the mound.

Analytics continues to be an area of growing importance in the game. How – if at all – do you incorporate data into your work?

I’m not a huge data guy, but I know it’s a big part of the game these days so I do try and make every pitch I have statistically better. But I’m also huge on the only thing that matters is getting outs at the end of the day.

At this point in the offseason, how are you preparing for the upcoming season?

Right now, I’m working out five times a week and playing catch every day besides the weekends. I start ramping up the throwing process next week by stretching it out in long toss and getting closer to throwing off the mound.

What’s your pregame routing like as a relief pitcher? Is there anything special or unique you make sure to do before each time you go out?

As a reliever, I don’t really have a special pregame routine. I just start preparing myself mentally around 30 minutes before game time and get ready to go.

Lastly, is there a piece of advice you would share with younger players who are hoping to be where you are one day?

The best piece of advice I was told in college was that if the team’s goals are met, then my personal goals would be met. That was the truest thing I learned because that’s exactly what happened. I would just say no matter what, work as hard as you can in everything you do because there’s someone else that is working just as hard or harder for the same thing that you want.

On behalf of the entire Sox On 35th team, I’d like to thank Brandon for taking some time out to answer questions for us. We wish him nothing but the best heading into the 2022 season.

For more White Sox content, be sure to follow us on social media @SoxOn35th!

Featured Photo: Reds/Twitter

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BILL O'Brien

Could be a very significant signing. Adding bullpen depth, at the very least!

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