The Royals officially announced the Johnny Cueto trade Sunday afternoon, acquiring Cueto for three left-handed pitchers - Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb, and Cody Reed. The Royals will also receive an undisclosed amount of cash in the deal. Of the three, only Finnegan was listed as a top ten Royals prospect by either Baseball America or John Sickels before the start of the season.
Brandon Finnegan was the Royals first-round pick in 2014 out of TCU. He enjoyed a meteoric rise to the big leagues, posting a 1.33 ERA in 27 minor league innings last season before being promoted to Kansas City in September. Finnegan would give up just one run in seven big league innings in relief, striking out ten, and was included in the Royals post-season roster. Finnegan pitched well in the post-season until Game 5 of the World Series, where he gave up five runs in an inning of work.
Finnegan was ranked as a Top 100 prospect in baseball by Baseball America (#55), MLB.com (#75) and Baseball Prospectus (#87) before the season. John Sickels ranked Finnegan as a "B+" prospect, tops in the Royals organization. The Royals were rumored to be less than impressed with Finnegan's off-season conditioning however, and he had an umimpressive spring training that got him demoted to the minors. The twenty-two year old lefty struggled a bit in the minors, but did post a 2.96 ERA in 24 relief innings with the Royals this season, although his walk numbers were high.
John Lamb was a fifth-round draft pick out of high school by the Royals in 2008. The southpaw had an outstanding season in the low minors at the age of 19 in 2010, and was rated a top 20 prospect by both Baseball American and Baseball Prospectus. Lamb's prospect status would take a hit that summer when he tore his ulnar collateral ligament and underwent Tommy John surgery. Lamb was not the same pitcher when he returned and had a dismal 2013 season. He rebounded a bit in 2014, but began to really impress in 2015 when he posted a 2.67 ERA in 17 starts for AAA Omaha with over a strikeout per inning. The 25-year old was named a AAA All-Star and was briefly on the Royals roster for a doubleheader back in early July, although he did not see Major League action.
Cody Reed was a second-round pick by the Royals in 2013 out of Northwest Mississippi Community College. Reed struggled in his first two seasons of professional baseball but took a major step forward this year. The 22-year old left-hander posted a 2.14 ERA in 67 1/3 innings for Wilmington before being promoted to AA Northwest Arkansas, where he had a 3.45 ERA in five starts.