KC Royals: It’s time to proclaim Brady Singer the ace

(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

The KC Royals broke their four-game losing streak Friday night by beating Tampa Bay 3-2 in 10 innings.

Bobby Witt Jr. hit his 16th home run of the season, left fielder MJ Melendez threw a runner out at second in the ninth and ended the game with a diving catch in the 10th, a play preceded moments earlier by Salvador Perez throwing out the Rays’ extra-inning automatic runner. And relievers Dylan Coleman and Scott Barlow combined for four scoreless frames.

Include KC starter Brady Singer in the kudos. The third-year pitcher who made the leap from Double-A to the majors to start the 2020 campaign, but hasn’t quite lived up to the promise of the first round draft pick he became in 2018, didn’t get a decision Friday but certainly snuffed out any doubt that he’s the ace of Kansas City’s starting rotation.

Singer limited the Rays to just two runs and struck out seven in six innings. He didn’t surrender a run until the sixth in giving his club another quality start—the seventh in his last 10 outings, to be precise.

Feel free to proclaim him KC’s rotation ace. That’s exactly what he’s become.

Brady Singer is indisputably the best starting pitcher the KC Royals have.

Singer’s rocky spring—he gave up seven runs and seven walks in 7.1 Cactus League innings—was enough for the Royals to drop him from the rotation and into the Opening Day bullpen. And before April ended, he found himself in Triple-A, a place he’d only pitched during an injury rehab assignment last season.

Thankfully, things have changed. Drastically.

Singer is 5-4 with a 3.35 ERA since returning to the majors full time (he shut out the White Sox for seven innings and a win May 17 but, as the 27th man for that day’s doubleheader, had to go back to Omaha immediately). More impressively, and including Friday night’s performance, he’s 3-1 with a 1.82 ERA in his last seven starts.

Overall, he’s 6-4, 3.27; he shares the club lead in wins with Brad Keller, but Keller has 13 losses and now works out of the bullpen. That 3.27 ERA tops Kansas City’s regular starters, he leads the Royals with 114 strikeouts despite spending almost a month in the minors, and his 2.37 BB/9 is more than acceptable. There is no better starter in the Royal rota—Daniel Lynch and Zack Greinke are both 4-8 with ERAs above 4.00, Jonathan Heasley is 1-7 and pitching at Omaha, and Kris Bubic, although improving, is 2-7, 5.11.

And Singer was good against the Rays Friday night. He retired them in order in the fourth and fifth, faced the minimum in the first thanks to an inning-ending double play, and escaped unscathed from a tense bases loaded situation in the fifth by picking off Harold Ramírez with the dangerous Randy Arozarena at the plate. The Rays managed only the two runs they nicked Singer for in the sixth.

The effort wasn’t surprising considering how well Singer has pitched since his time in Triple-A. He was also coming off two stellar performances, one Aug. 9 when he beat the White Sox by holding them to one run, issuing no walks, and striking out six in 7.1 innings, and the other last Sunday when he shut out the Dodgers and fanned seven over six innings.

The Royals have been waiting for Singer to pitch like a first-round draft choice. He’s doing that now, and with regularity.

That he’s Kansas City’s ace is no longer debatable.

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Brady Singer is the Royals’ best starter.