EMERSON, Ga.—The second day of playoff action at the 17U WWBA brought many of the top arms at the event after they threw in their team’s first few games. Pitching was the story of the day, as many of the top arms showed well and had strong outings to push their teams deeper into the playoffs.
With a chance to move on to the second round of the playoffs, Chet Lemon’s Juice righthander Brady Singer of Tavares (Fla.) High tossed a gem, throwing a complete game no-hitter while facing the minimum. An error on a ground ball to the left side was the lone baserunner to reach before Singer induced a groundball double play. He is an advanced high school pitcher who did not walk a hitter while striking out nine of the 21 hitters he faced. Only one out did not come from a strikeout or groundout.
Singer is a low three-quarters slinger who attacks with his fastball and gets outs with the offering. His heater was 89-91 mph, touching 92 in the first few innings before settling in at 87-89 in the last three frames. He has a loose, quick and whip-like arm. His fastball plays up because of his plane to the plate and above-average arm-side run that gets in on the hands of righthanded hitters quickly, while also generating sink. Singer’s fastball gives him groundball tendencies, producing 11 groundouts against one flyout and no popups.
“I only throw a two-seam and I like to get up there and sling it,” Singer said. “I like to do what I know how to do. That arm slot just comes naturally to me. I just got up there and slung it when I first started.”
The ball gets on hitters quicker than the pure velocity would indicate because of his extension out front, working from the far first base side of the rubber. Scouts have compared his arm action, arm slot and fastball life to Aaron Nola.
“It freaked me out when I saw him throw,” Singer said. “I thought ‘Wow, that really looks like me.’ It's a great comparison.”
Singer is a low-heartbeat player on the mound with a stoic demeanor who works very quickly. He showed advanced control and ability to throw to both sides of the plate for a high school pitcher, pounding the strike zone. He threw strikes on 73 percent of his pitches, though when he missed he tended to miss up.
“Chet (Lemon) works on command a lot,” Singer said. “He says you just need to pound the strike zone and really get through it.”
While Singer has a fastball that touches average velocity with life and control, the development of his secondary stuff will likely be the key to his draft prospects. He doesn't possess an average secondary offering presently, according to scouts, but his stuff is developing. Singer’s primary offspeed offering is a 71-75 mph breaking ball with three-quarters tilt.
“My breaking ball has developed a lot but we are still working on getting it tighter instead of a bigger loop,” Singer said. “But everything is going good with it.”
Singer’s changeup is used sparingly in game action but his natural feel for pitching and throwing strikes are a platform from which to build a changeup.
“I am struggling a little bit with my changeup right now but Coach Chet and I are working on it and it’s definitely getting better,” Singer said.
The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Singer has a lean, long-limbed and projectable build with a frame that will accommodate significant additional strength gains.
Singer said he has been a Florida Gators fan his entire and he is committed to Florida. The school is only an hour and a half from his home.
The 17-year-old Singer will turn 18 next month and will attend the East Coast Professional showcase later this month.
• EvoShield Canes righthander Ashe Russell had another impressive outing and continues to show why he is emerging as one of the top arms in the high school class.
“Russell looked like a first-rounder today,” an American League crosschecker said. “He was really fun to watch today.”
Russell tossed seven shutout innings in the third round of the playoffs, allowing only two hits and one walk. He retired his first nine and didn't allow his first hit until the seventh.
Russell has electric arm speed with a very whip-like arm, largely sitting 92-94, touching 95. He maintained his velocity throughout his outing. Russell gets plus fastball life as the ball jumps out of his hand and gives hitters an uncomfortable look. He gets explosive late life to his glove side and plus arm side run to that side of the plate. He broke four bats in his first five innings.
His breaking ball showed above-average potential and he demonstrated feel for the offering. The velocity range of his breaking ball was wide, spanning from 75-83 as he varies shape on the offering because of his wandering arm slot.