Brady Singer Hopes Revitalized Changeup Spurs Path To Royals Rotation
SURPRISE, Ariz. — Brady Singer had plenty of success as a college pitcher, but once he left Florida for his professional career, he knew he had to change up his, well, changeup.
Singer’s strong fastball and slider were enough to get college hitters out consistently and made him a dominant starting pitcher at Florida, where he had a career ERA of 3.22 to go along with 281 strikeouts and just 71 walks in three seasons. He was even named Baseball America’s player of The year as a junior.
But he didn’t hear his name called until the Royals picked him 18th overall, despite some buzz that he could factor among the top picks of the draft.
Some teams projected Singer as a two-pitch starting pitcher with a low arm slot that could lead to a relief role.
So Singer adjusted. He began working on his changeup, a pitch he didn’t use much in college, and started throwing it once he arrived in the Royals organization.
“I needed a third pitch,” Singer said. “It’ll really help me out during the long run. I spent the whole offseason working on it … Obviously going to throw it more. It’s been feeling good and I have a lot of confidence in it.”
Singer has fiddled with the grip for his changeup throughout his career. He believes the one he has settled on now is right for him. The pitch never was an asset for him at Florida, but he didn’t need it because of the efficiency of his fastball and slider.
"I feel like I only threw it a couple times at Florida,” Singer said. "I didn’t really throw it. I felt like two pitches worked in games in college, and...you try to win games. If two pitches got it done, that’s what I did.”
The Royals never saw Singer in a bullpen role. They believed that his changeup could be the third pitch to complement the fastball and slider. The organization’s plan is to keep him progressing toward a future rotation spot in Kansas City.
"Our scouts felt that he’s got the makings of three really good pitches,” general manager Dayton Moore said. "He’s highly competitive. Do I think he could be a dominant reliever? Yes. But we felt that he could start, and that’s how we’re going to position him going forward.”
Two pitches, three pitches, regardless of the pitches Singer has at his disposal that are considered to be of MLB caliber, there’s no question that his competitive spirit fits in the big leagues. Singer loves to work and get better, which is the logic behind the organizational belief that his changeup will become very good. Singer’s approach has impressed first-year Royals Manager Mike Matheny.
"This kid loves to compete, he loves the discipline. One of those overlooked disciplines of the game,” Matheny said. "All the prep work, all the diet, all the work behind the scenes; you can tell he takes great pride in it. He’s really standing out. He looks like he fits, he doesn’t look overwhelmed. His stuff looks fantastic.”
When Singer made his Cactus League debut in a one-inning outing in the Royals’ Feb. 23 contest against the Indians, he only threw the changeup once. He did make use of his slider, that he described as "sharp” and had good command of his two-seam fastball led to strikeouts of Franmil Reyes and Domingo Santana.
He has appeared in four games this spring (two starts), allowing seven hits and four walks while striking out six and posting a 4.76 ERA.
"I try to compete in everything,” Singer said after his debut. "I got to show some of that yesterday. Felt really good and really strong.”
If Singer’s changeup continues to progress, his chances of breaking into the Royals’ rotation will be that way, too.