I took some notes during the televised broadcast of the KC Royals at Chicago Cubs spring training game on Wednesday, February 27th.
The game featured some of the Kansas City Royals’ top pitching prospects and hitting prospects. Each prospect looks promising, but they each need more seasoning in their progression.
Top pitching prospects Brady Singer, Daniel Lynch, and Jackson Kowar joined hitting prospects Khalil Lee, MJ Melendez, and Brewer Hicklen in the Royals spring training game Wednesday in Mesa, Arizona against a major league Chicago Cubs roster.
Pitcher Brady Singer started the game for the Royals and faced the major league regulars of the Chicago Cubs for the first two innings. Daniel Lynch pitched the five and six innings for the Royals facing mostly Chicago Cub regulars. Jackson Kowar came into to pitch the seventh inning against mostly reserve players for the Chicago Cubs.
Outfielder Khalil Lee started and played most of the game in left field until he was relieved by Brewer HIcklen. Catcher MJ Melendez came on the fifth inning as a defensive replacement at catcher.
Brady Singer, Starting Pitcher
First impression on Brady Singer is that he works incredibly fast out of wind-up. Hitters need to be ready when they step into the box. He had good command in his outing, hitting his spots most of the time where catcher set-up. He used his plus slider as chase pitch to right-handed batters and on outside of plate against left-handed batters.
Singer consistently had good movement on his 92 – 94 mph fastball (riding in on right-handed hitters and away from lefties). Pounded the inside part of the plate, in on the hands of righties (jammed Steven Souza Jr. who got lucky with a weak bloop single to load bases in second inning).
The change-up ranged from 89 – 82 mph, slower version had good downward movement. The 89-mph change got two swing and misses, but they were located middle-middle of the plate. I’m not sure he had the feel for his change-up in the first inning. In the second inning he hit his spots with the 82 – 83 mph change-up, showing some confidence in it to work as it is designed.
- 1st inning – got Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Javier Baez to ground out on weakly hit balls.
- 2nd inning – gave up a sharp line drive up middle to Jason Heyward on a fastball middle-middle of zone, induced a ground ball (double play ball) on Victor Caratini, but it got past the shortstop. Steven Souza Jr. then hit a jammed bloop single to load the bases. Singer showed us how competitive he is and his stuff took over as struck out Albert Almora and Jason Kipnis, then got Nico Hoerner to ground out to Lopez to get out of his bases loaded, no-outs jam.
Really liked his stuff: slider and fastball are both plus offerings. He set-up pitches nicely, got swing/miss, and weak contact. The change-up is still a work in progress with consistency, but he started throwing it with command and confidence in his second inning of work.
The change-ups development and consistency will be the reason he’s sent back to the minors to start the MLB season, but make no mistake – Singer is very close to MLB ready.