Finnegan, Gore are living dream rookie seasons

Both prospects have made contributions to Royals' first postseason since '85

Finnegan, Gore are living dream rookie seasons

KANSAS CITY -- Even in their wildest fantasies, Brandon Finnegan and Terrance Gore could never have foreseen their meteoric, unfathomable rise through the organization.

"No, not at all," said Finnegan on Monday, beaming at the thought that in June, he was still playing collegiate baseball. "Of course that was in my head, but all I could do is control what I can control, which is going out there and giving our team the best chance to win and luckily I did that in the Minor Leagues."

When Finnegan broke into the Majors on Sept. 6, less than two months after debuting professionally, he became the first pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft to play in the bigs.

The journey to the Majors for James Shields, who will be Tuesday night's starter for the Royals in the American League Wild Card Game, was markedly more arduous, and he reveled at Finnegan's ascension.

"This guy had less starts than [I had] years in the Minor Leagues," Shields said. "I think he had five starts and I had six years in the Minor Leagues, six and some change."

Finnegan reaching the Majors seemed more a discussion of when rather than if. Gore resembles a completely different story. The pint-sized outfielder played with Class A Advanced Wilmington as late as Aug. 5.

Two days later, Gore was suddenly jetted to Triple-A Omaha. Kansas City was grooming him for the role of pinch-runner in the chase for its first postseason appearance in 29 years, a fact unbeknownst to Gore at the time.

"I had no clue that I was going to be going to Triple-A to run bases and up in the big leagues at all," Gore said.

Finnegan and Gore were not called up to sit on the bench, either. Both have received the opportunity to showcase their talents in high-leverage situations.

Finnegan has allowed just one run in seven innings to go with 10 strikeouts, including fanning left-handed menace David Ortiz.

"He's faced some really big hitters in September that we needed him to get outs, and he got the job done," Shields said.

Gore has found a way to make an impact despite only two plate appearances since being called up on Aug. 31. He's served as a pinch-runner nine times, swiping five bags and scoring five runs.

"I knew I was fast. I knew you have to go level-to-level-to-level to get here, but I guess speed makes it a little faster," Gore said.

Whether an opportunity will arise for the rookies to impact postseason games remains unknown.

Yost gave the impression in his press conference on Monday that Gore would be added to the 25-man roster for Tuesday, and used as a pinch-runner if necessary.

Regardless of playing time, from this point on, both Finnegan and Gore can claim to have contributed to ending the longest postseason drought in the four professional major sports.

"It definitely is hard to explain, I mean, God, two months ago I signed a professional contract … it's crazy," Finnegan said.

"I've been on an amazing journey, and I'm blessed to be on this journey. I came from High-A, went to Triple-A for a month, now I'm in the big leagues in the playoffs," Gore said.

Jackson Alexander is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.