Brady Singer’s Wait Is Almost Over

Image credit: Brady Singer (Photo by Bill Mitchell)

PEORIA, Ariz. — Brady Singer’s long wait is almost over. Because he’d had a protracted workload in his junior season at Florida, the Royals chose to let Singer rest after they drafted him with their first-round pick.

While Kansas City’s other high-profile draftees—Gators teammate Jackson Kowar, Virginia lefty Daniel Lynch, Stanford lefty Kris Bubic and Memphis righty Jonathan Bowlan among them—got to find their feet in pro ball last season, Singer was held back at the team’s complex in Arizona.

Camp will break in a couple of weeks, and Singer is likely headed north to high Class A Wilmington, where he’ll help form what could be one of the most talented staffs in the minor leagues.

“It’s not fun sitting there, but it was a good break that I got,” Singer said after pitching four innings against Padres minor leaguers on Wednesday. “They said after the draft that I threw a lot in college, so I got to relax and take some time off and obviously let the body rest. I was anxious, obviously.”

During that time off, Singer took in plenty of Rookie-level Arizona League games and studied how his teammates attacked hitters, biding his time before making his unofficial pro debut in the fall instructional league.

This spring, Singer has been working on strengthening his already-enviable arsenal. He boasts both a fastball and slider that grade as potential plus pitches, and his changeup projects as average as well. Simply throwing his changeup more than he did in college has helped the pitch progress, and he used a particularly nasty version to record one of his four strikeouts on Wednesday.

“I’m really enjoying that pitch now, the changeup. It’s something I’ve been working on for a while,” Singer said. “It’s been good at times, and sometimes it’s been a little hard to throw, but I’m really enjoying it.”

He’s also added an unexpected new wrinkle to his pitch mix since he’s become a member of the Royals organization.

“I started throwing a four-seam (fastball) this year once I got into pro ball,” he said. “And that’s really worked well for certain situations with the two-seamer running back over the plate . . . Now I can throw this four-seam with a little bit less movement and works in certain counts.

“It’s definitely different than throwing a two-seamer,” Singer continued. “I obviously try to stay on top of the four-seamer and get a little bit more true spin with the four-seam, but it still moves sometimes.”

With his new fastball and refined changeup, Singer is ready to head north and take the mound for the first official time as a professional.

Padres righthander Luis Patino threw opposite Singer on Wednesday, and showed intriguing if inconsistent stuff. The game’s No. 67 overall prospect’s fastball sat between 94-96 mph and featured hard-cutting life at times. He mixed in an upper-80s slider that flashed plus at times but was inconsistent throughout his outing.

He had trouble repeating his delivery, however, which kept his breaking balls from being as effective as possible.

A day before the Singer-Patino showdown, fans on the Padres’ backfields were treated to two of the best pitching prospects from the No. 1 organization in the sport. On the low Class A field, lefthander MacKenzie Gore dominated with a four-pitch mix headed by a hellacious fastball that he could dial up to 98 mph when needed. He backed it up with a pair of nasty breaking balls, including his signature nose-to-toes curveball.

A few feet away on the high Class A field, lefty Adrian Morejon flummoxed Brewers hitters with a mid-90s fastball and an outstanding downer curveball. Morejon, who signed with the Padres with plenty of fanfare in 2016, missed significant time last season with flexor soreness and triceps discomfort. On Tuesday, however, Morejon looked every bit like the pitcher who ranked as the top arm in the high Class A California League in 2018.

“To me, he was very, very good,” Padres Double-A pitching coach Jimmy Jones said. “The last two times I’ve seen him—I don’t know him very well; I’ve just seen bullpens, mainly—he seems to be composed on the mound, making pitches with all his pitches. Nothing seems to bother him at all. He has a really good idea of what he wants to do, and it’s showing in his performance.”

Injuries kept both Gore and Morejon from showing their true potential in their first full seasons in 2018. With full health in 2019, the Padres’ future might look even brighter than it does already.

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