What will KC Royals starter Brady Singer do with his first full season?
For most of an inning Monday afternoon, Brady Singer bore little resemblance to the top-flight pitcher the KC Royals picked in the first round of the 2018 draft and made a key part of their rotation last season.
Singer started for the Royals (they won 10-3) and, after retiring the first Oakland batter he faced on a grounder to third, hit Tony Kemp.
He walked Stephen Piscotty next.
He walked Seth Brown to load the bases before striking out former Royal Frank Schwindel.
Then he hit Luis Barrera, forcing Kemp home to give the A’s a 1-0 lead.
Fortunately, Singer regained his composure and froze Aramis Garcia with a called third strike to end the inning, held the A’s to a hit in a scoreless second, and struck out the side in the third.
If the first wasn’t one of the worst innings of Singer’s brief professional career, it had to be close. The two batters he hit equaled his 2020 season total, which he reached in the 11th of his 12 starts. The pair of one-out walks wasn’t good. But to his credit, Singer recovered to extinguish any serious concerns that initial frame may have raised. Good pitchers work their way out of early jams, and Singer is a good pitcher.
How good is he? That remains to be seen as he prepares for his first full major league season, but he provided a significant clue by going 12-5 with a 2.85 ERA in his first pro campaign, a 26-start effort spent at Advanced A Wilmington and Double A Northwest Arkansas in 2019. Singer went to 2020 spring training as a prospect, made the Opening Day roster, and ended the shortened season as a full-fledged member of the Royals’ rotation.
September was a statement month for Singer—he entered the month 1-3 with an excessive 5.19 ERA, then went 3-2, 2.73 in five starts. And he just missed a no-hitter against Cleveland when he surrendered a two-out single in the eighth inning. He finished 4-5, 4.06, a respectable first season for a rookie in a uniquely truncated campaign, and formed with Kris Bubic one of the more memorable same-team rookie pitching tandems in recent memory.
At just 24, Singer finds himself solidly entrenched in a big league rotation. Barring a catastrophic start, or baseball’s infamous sophomore jinx, he’ll stay there all year.
But how will he perform?
Baseball Reference and FanGraphs projections for Singer’s KC Royals season
Baseball Reference and FanGraphs believe Singer’s 2021 will be much like his 2020, just longer. Baseball Reference predicts he’ll go 9-10 with a 4.25 ERA in 146 innings, while FanGraphs (Depth Charts version) projects 8-9, 4.54 in 132 innings.
How will Singer actually perform in his first full season with the KC Royals?
Having as pedestrian a season as both Baseball Reference and FanGraphs project seems unlikely for Singer, especially considering his talent and the much-improved club Kansas City appears to be. He should win 10-12 (maybe even 15) games and lose seven or eight. Expect an ERA lower than 4.00 from the pitcher who will probably occupy the third spot (or possibly fourth, depending on where manager Mike Matheny slots Mike Minor) in the rotation to start the year.
Brady Singer gets his first crack at a full season in 2021. Look for this to be an even better campaign for him than last year.