The Royals drafted both righthanders in the first round, selecting Singer 18th overall and Kowar 33rd. The duo is ready to advance to high Class A Wilmington in tandem this season.
“They’re ready for the next step,” assistant general manager J.J. Picollo said. “We won’t artificially keep them together . . . That’s the way they’re lining up, at least to start the year.”
Singer did not pitch last season after the Gators were eliminated from the College World Series. He pulled his hamstring during the season and the Royals exercised caution after signing him for $4.25 million.
“I’m totally recovered,” Singer said. “I just took some time off. I threw a lot in college, so taking a break from the throwing really wasn’t a bad thing.
“It was tough not pitching, but I threw a lot in three years at the University of Florida. It was good to take a little bit of a break, meet some of these guys and get used to pro ball.”
Singer was dispatched to Rookie-level Idaho Falls in the Pioneer League to be mentored by Chukars pitching coach Jeff Suppan, the Royals’ pitcher of the year in 2000 and 2001.
“I learned an incredible amount from Jeff Suppan,” Singer said.
He also spent time with low Class A Lexington, where Kowar made nine starts after signing, in their run to the South Atlantic League championship. Singer got back on a mound during instructional league, where he soon regained his mid-90 fastball.
“I think just the movement of my fastball is one of the main things I try to bring,” Singer said. “The sinking fastball is one of my strong points.
“My best secondary pitch is my slider. My changeup I used a lot more in college. I know I need to use it a lot more in pro ball. So that’s something I’m really focusing on lately. In instructs I worked on the four-seam fastball. I added that this year.”
— In addition to Singer and Kowar, the Wilmington rotation will likely boast fellow first-rounder Daniel Lynch, plus the core of the South Atlantic League-champion Lexington team. That group includes top four top prospects: catcher MJ Melendez, first baseman Nick Pratto, power-hitting outfielder Seuly Matias and 19-year-old lefthander Yefri Del Rosario.
— Righthander Trevor Oaks is expected to miss the first half of the season after having surgery to repair a hip labrum tear.