Kansas City Royals: Is Brady Singer approaching “bust” territory?

It is June 4th, 2018 and the Kansas City Royals select Brady Singer a RHP from the University of Florida with the 18th overall pick.  Brady’s draft profile written by David Adler on MLB.com states,

“Singer checks off all of the boxes teams are looking for out of a potential top pick. Long and lean, he has a terrific pitcher’s body that has thus far proven to be durable. He’ll throw his fastball up to 95-96 mph consistently, with plus life. His slider plays well off of his fastball, a second above-average pitch he manipulates in terms of depth and velocity. His changeup continues to improve and should give him a third above-average offering. He commands the ball well, gets high marks for his makeup and is a plus competitor”.

Fast forward to 2021, and Brady Singer has struggled, posting a 3-7 record with a 5.13 ERA.  Some of the alarming stats provided by baseball-reference.com that truly stick out are one, he is averaging 5.85 runs allowed per 9 IP. Additionally, in three starts during the month of July he has pitched 11.0 innings surrendering 10 earned runs.  Brady’s most recent start came on Saturday, July 17th,  in which he was only able to make it 2.0 IP giving up 7 earned runs on 8 hits, striking out only one Baltimore Oriole.

What is contributing to Brady Singer’s 2021 season?

The Kansas City Royals pitching staff as a whole is posting a 5.15 ERA, and pitching a total of 794.0 IP so far in the 2021 season according to MLB.com.  Having only logged a total of 794.0 IP ranks them 25 out of 30 teams.  As a team according to baseball-reference is averaging 4.1 BB9.

Many have questioned Pitching Coach Cal Eldred.  Eldred joined the Kansas City Royals as a Pitching Coach in 2018 and the team has been towards the bottom in production every year since the hire except 2020 which was the 60 game pandemic season.  In 2018 the Royals team ERA was 4.94 which ranked 29 out of 30 teams.  In 2019 the Royals pitching staff posted a 5.20 ERA ranking 27 out of 30 teams.  In 2020 the pitchers posted a 4.30 ERA which ranked them 12 out of 30 teams but was also a 60 game shortened season due to the pandemic.  Now, in the current 2021 season the Royals pitching staff has posted an ERA of 5.15.  This is through 92 games played and is ranked 28 out of 30 teams.

Another contributing factor to the slide in Brady Singer’s production is a consistency of only throwing two pitches.  According to Baseball Savant, Brady Singer is throwing his sinker 58.4% (937 pitches) of the time followed up with his slider 36.1% (579 pitches) of the time.  Brady is throwing his changeup only 3.4% (54 pitches).  When you are only displaying two pitches consistently it is reflected in the innings splits.

Also according to Baseball Savant, Brady Singer has thrown 19.0 1st inning IP with an ERA of 3.79.  He has thrown 19.0 2ndinning IP with a 2.84 ERA.  The alarming stat is Singer has thrown 16.2 3rd inning IP and his ERA skyrockets to 9.18 ERA.

What this demonstrates is once he goes through the batting order of the opponent, that team is catching on to his pitches and are capitalizing.  Strikeouts go down as well per each inning because the hitter is not as “fooled” and is more prepared.

In the end Brady Singer has only pitched for the Kansas City Royals a total of 31 games (31 GS), and has logged 152.0 innings.  I am by no means going to label him as a “bust”.  As any young pitcher there is a learning curve and Singer is enduring that at the Major League level.  I would like to see his changeup continue to develop, and him to start throwing it with more confidence.  We’ll see what happens with Singer as he continues to mature and develop into a Major League starting pitcher for the Kansas City Royals.