KC Royals: Why Omaha is so critical for Brady Singer

(Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports) /

Brady Singer, once and possibly still the biggest hope the KC Royals have for their pitching future, is headed for the minor leagues.

The club today announced its decision to option him to Triple-A Omaha, the placement of Adalberto Mondesi, hurt two nights ago on the basepaths in Chicago, on the Injured List, and the promotions of Kyle Isbel and Emmanuel Rivera to Kansas City.

Mondesi suffered an ACL tear and, considering the nature of that injury, is all but certainly lost for the season, which requires the return of Whit Merrifield to second base. Recalling Rivera gives the Royals a capable backup infielder (he’s played first, second and third bases in the minors), and Isbel will share time with Edward Olivares in right field, where Merrifield had been playing until Mondesi went down.

The major news, though, aside from the word on Mondesi, is Singer’s demotion.

It was easy to see coming.

The KC Royals optioning Brady Singer to Omaha shouldn’t surprise anyone.

That Kansas City would choose to send Singer down was, in a nutshell, predictable. The signs began surfacing in spring training. A mainstay of the rotation since breaking in during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Singer gave up six runs and walked seven in just 7.1 Cactus League innings, a performance to which the club’s decision to relegate him to the bullpen to start the regular season is easily traceable.

Those spring training troubles followed him—he allowed Cleveland four runs and four hits in three relief innings during Kansas City’s third game of the season, and manager Mike Matheny used him only once before he pitched a decent two-thirds of an inning six days ago in Seattle. He was good again against the White Sox Tuesday.

And for whatever reason, Singer still isn’t throwing the changeup, or any other third pitch, he desperately needs to supplement his sinker and slider—per Baseball Savant, only one of his 103 pitches this seasons has been a change, a fact his employer can’t be happy about.

The trip to Triple-A is important for KC Royals pitcher Brady Singer.

Not surprisingly, and as reported by mlb.com KC beat writer Anne Rogers, the Kansas City brass—specifically, President of Baseball Operations Dayton Moore—says Singer is headed to Omaha to start and he’s still very much in the club’s plans:

But let’s think a bit more about this.

First, remember Moore is an honest man, so don’t doubt for a second that Singer remains in the club’s long range plans will rejoin the rotation whenever he returns to Kansas City.

Only the Royals know, however, exactly why Singer was in the big league bullpen and why he didn’t get a start while Kris Bubic and Carlos Hernández struggled. But that they lost some patience and confidence in Singer is certainly possible, especially after his poor spring training, subpar first performance of the season, and that all but totally absent third pitch.

And all that’s why this journey back to Triple-A is so critical for Singer and his further development. The truncated 2020 season essentially forced him to the majors and deprived him of an important minor league development season, which perhaps accounts more than anything for his 9-15, 4.67 major league record, numbers not quite up to snuff for the first round draft pick Singer was in 2018.

Also crucial, of course, is that elusive third pitch (or maybe even a fourth offering, something Kings of Kauffman’s Preston Farr mentioned here recently). If anything is clear about Singer’s pitching, it’s that two primary pitches aren’t enough for him to consistently fool and dominate big league hitters. He absolutely must concentrate on pitch development at Omaha; failure to do so should prolong his stay there until he does.

Yes, Singer probably needs to stretch back out, but that shouldn’t take long considering he spent only three weeks in Kansas City’s bullpen. More important for him is to find and start using that third pitch, and to perform well.

Then he’ll be ready to reclaim his spot in the rotation.

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Brady Singer must use his time in the minors well.