First of all.. I have to say I did not see this one coming. Heading into today, I was constantly running through draft scenarios for the Royals, mostly involving prep pitchers at pick 18, and I basically did not envision this one at all.
The Royals grabbed the 2018 Baseball America College Player of the Year, Brady Singer, who’s posted a 2.25 ERA in 88 innings (13 starts) for his junior season, striking out 92 and walking a mere 18.
The Royals just got themselves one of the more advanced, safer, high-floor arms in this draft. If you would have told me that he’d wind up with the Royals back in January, I would have thought you were crazy, as he was in the running for the first overall pick and looking like a sure-fire top five selection. Heading into today, he was consistently sitting in the top ten on most mock drafts, but with some weird scenarios playing out (Kyler Murray going to Oakland, Matthew Liberatore, Cole Winn, and Nolan Gorman falling), teams were presented with more unexpected options, causing Singer to fall.
Possibly the favorite to be the Detroit Tigers selection with the first overall pick, Brady Singer rebuilt his draft stock with a big-time season at Florida last year. A highly ranked prospect coming out of Eustis High School in Florida, Singer opted to go at the University of Florida rather than signing with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015 after being taken in the second round.
With all that said, let’s talk about the actual player profile. I’ve mentioned the high-floor on Singer. Compared to other pitchers in the first round, his upside is limited. But with an organization that’s struggled with some high-variance arms, mostly raw prep guys, grabbing a safer college guy might be the way to go.
Unlike most high-floor, low-ceiling guys, Singer actually has some good velocity on his fastball. He sits mid-90s with it, topping out at around 96 MPH. The changeup and slider are nothing eye-popping, but the slider has some potential with some work. All pitches are polished enough.
The secondary pitches miss bats. He has a strong confidence with both, along with plus-command. The fastball has some beautiful run on it, getting an optimal amount of ground balls with its sinking action.
He works down in the zone, working at a downhill angle with his lean figure.
The fastball has some really nice run to combine with the velocity too.
And then some offspeed.
Singer works with deception. He hides the ball well enough and works with a 3/4 arm slot, using it to get great deception on his secondaries.
I would have some concern with how that arm slot will work for him down the road, but the injury concerns can at least be hushed a bit by his large frame (6’5″ 180 lbs). Add some weight and you could be looking at an added tick of velocity.
Overall, I’m pretty satisfied with this pick. I would have definitely preferred hitters such as Nolan Gorman and Trevor Larnach, but I’ll take the possibilities the Royals can have down the road at 33, 34, 40, and 58.
Singer was the safe pick. With the Royals likely going with some high-variance arms later in this draft, getting the safe bet out of the way might have been smart. He easily becomes the best pitching prospect in the organization and is likely a borderline top 100 guy. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Royals started him out in Lexington with a chance to move up to Wilmington. If he performs, he’ll move much quicker than the average prospect. Don’t be surprised if he’s the first guy that was picked tonight to make the majors.
Photo Credits: Getty Images