3 disasters the KC Royals can't afford in 2023
Brady Singer regressing is something the KC Royals simply can't afford
Following the first two seasons of his big league career, and as an unimpressive 9-15, 4.62 cumulative record proved, Brady Singer wasn't the dominant starter the Royals expected him to be when they made him their first pick in the 2018 amateur draft. Many blamed Singer's underperformance on his much-maligned choice to rely primarily on his sinker and slider while eschewing the changeup that could provide a much more effective pitch mix.
But things changed for the better last season, his third in the majors, following a short trip back to the minors. It was after spending time at Triple-A Omaha that he appeared to have overcome his aversion to the changeup.
He was a different pitcher. Singer went 9-5, 3.26 after returning to the Royals and finished the season 10-5, 3.23. And it's probably no coincidence that his best season yet coincided with throwing the changeup more. Per Baseball Savant, he used it over twice as much (7.7% of the time) as he did in 2021 (3.8%), and hitters managed just a .235 average against it.
So, it seems Singer finally has a better arsenal. But if he returns to his previous norm of sinker and slider with an occasional four-seamer, and an even more rare changeup, thrown in, he'll likely lose what he found last year. That could be disastrous for a team hoping to be competitive again but lacking many hurlers ready to pick up the resulting slack.
And what's the third disaster to be avoided?