KC Royals face at least 3 splitting winter headaches

(Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports) /
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KC Royals, Brady Singer
(Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) /

The World Series begins tonight and will, barring weather delays, command baseball’s attention through at least Saturday. But whether a new Series champion is crowned this weekend or next week, the end of this Fall Classic will usher out the 2021 season and mark the beginning of a winter of uncertainty. Even for the KC Royals.

The game’s Basic Agreement, better known as its collective bargaining deal, expires Dec. 1 and recent accounts offer a only a bleak forecast for negotiations. Hardball seems to be both sides’ early approach and a possible lockout, the owners’ most powerful economic weapon, looms.

But even if the players and clubs suddenly find common ground, or enough of it to permit offseason player transactions, the usual wintertime personnel headaches will hound each team. The Royals have at least three of their own.

What are they?

Can the KC Royals afford to have Brady Singer rely on 2 primary pitches?

Brady Singer’s questionable commitment to two primary pitches at the expense of what could be a career-changing three is a problem the Kansas City brain trust has, knows it has, and should now forcefully address. Singer is talented, but not so much so that he can get by on a fastball (sinker) and slider alone.

That’s not to say, or even suggest, those two pitches aren’t good for Singer. They are. But in 2021, his battles with command meant they weren’t good together, or even separately, often enough, which together with his glaring lack of a decent third pitch account in no small part for his 5-10, 4.91 ERA record. And that’s not to mention the benefit Singer could reap by adding another effective pitch to his repertoire.

According to Baseball Savant, Singer relied almost exclusively in 2021 on his sinker and slider, throwing the former 56.3% and the latter 38.2% of the time, while he chose his changeup 3.9% and his four-seamer just 1.6% of the time.

It’s time Singer developed and used a third pitch, whether it’s the change he rarely throws or the curve he doesn’t (but should) have. The Royals need to insist on such an addition, or Singer’s two-pitch approach will continue to be a headache. And a big one at that.