Best Developments for KC in 2022: Brady Singer

I ran a couple of polls on Twitter already gauging your guys’ thoughts on what the best developments for the Royals have been in 2022. Vinnie Pasquantino won the first one in a bit of a landslide and MJ Melendez is currently leading the second poll. I didn’t even give you guys the option to vote on Brady Singer because, in my opinion, his development into a top-two piece in a big league rotation is the single most important thing that’s happened for the Royals this season. I had a feeling you guys would feel the same way so we’ll start here and then get to the polls at a later date.

I want to try to add some context to Brady Singer’s season other than the obvious “Singer was okay last year and is good this year” narrative surrounding his development. For starters, here is a look at some of Singer’s base statistics over the last few seasons:

ERA
2020: 4.06
2021: 4.91
2022: 3.07

FIP
2020: 4.08
2021: 4.04
2022: 3.53

K/BB
2020: 2.65
2021: 2.47
2022: 4.25

CH%

2020: 4.7%
2021: 3.9%
2022: 7.8%

BAA vs LHH

2020: .217
2021: .268
2022: .233

Singer is throwing more strikes, keeping runners off base, and using his changeup more which has lowered his batting average against versus lefties 35 points from 2021. The biggest thing for Singer this year is the walks, however. His BB/9 is down nearly two batters per nine innings from 2021 and the lack of unnecessary base traffic has really helped Singer shine despite a lack of overwhelming improvement in other parts of his game. For example…

K%
2020: 23.2%
2021: 22.4%
2022: 23.9%

Barrel%
2020: 4.5%
2021: 5.6%
2022: 7.7%

xERA
2020: 3.84
2021: 4.54
2022: 3.87

Chase%
2020: 28.2%
2021: 24.2%
2022: 26.6%

SwStr%
2020: 9.5%
2021: 10.2%
2022: 9.2%

In a lot of ways, the dynamic effects of Singer’s stuff still aren’t as good as they were during his debut season in 2020. He’s had his lowest whiff rate of his career this season and the highest barrel percentage. Those two things in a vacuum may not lead you to believe that Singer was actually having the best season of his career this year. However, we’re talking about marginal differences in those two categories and a MASSIVE improvement in his walk rate which has completely nullified the lack of growth in his swing-and-miss stuff.

In some ways I think it would be fair to ask the question of whether or not what Singer is doing this year is sustainable. If you take into account his .299 BABIP, 13.4% HR/FB, and 48.6% GB%, you have the makings of a picture who is pitching to basically league average batted ball outcomes and should be able to maintain what he’s done this year long-term as long as he keeps the walks down. That is great news for the future of the Royals rotation.

I don’t want to get too far into the weeds regarding the Royals and developing pitchers, but I do want to give them credit where it’s due. Singer isn’t just performing better this year, he’s also shown signs of making semi-significant changes to his release that may be directly impacting his improved command. Take the following, for example:

The Royals have paraded around the idea that they found something with Singer’s grip that was making his fastball and slider less effective, and that upon returning from Omaha he corrected it and voila. In their defense, it looks like they are absolutely right. You want an example of the Royals being able to use advanced data to identify problems with their pitchers and then self correct them? Here it is. Plain as day. No matter how you feel about how the Royals develop the rest of their arms, they’ve pretty clearly demonstrated some semblance of adequacy because Singer has made tangible, traceable changes that we can see in the results and in the underlying data.

What this means for everybody else, I’m sure I don’t know. The Royals clearly haven’t been able to make these kinds of adjustments with most anybody else in their organization. There’s a few examples, but they are far and few between at this point. What matters for this article specifically is that they succeeded with Brady Singer which is a massive development for their long-term outlook because #2 starters aren’t cheap. I’m pretty sure they saved themselves a year of service time by sending Singer to Omaha this year which means they’ll have a cheap, controllable #2 starter in their rotation for at least the next four seasons (through 2026). Not having to pay $13-19M/year for a pitcher of that caliber is huge for adding other pieces to this roster.

Anyway. I think Singer is pretty clearly the most impactful development for this team in 2022. We’ll get to your all’s second favorite development, Vinnie Pasquantino, later this week.

5 thoughts on “Best Developments for KC in 2022: Brady Singer

  1. Pingback: Royals Rumblings – News for September 20, 2022 - AL Central Standings

  2. Pingback: Best Developments for KC in 2022: Vinnie Pasquantino | Royals Farm Report

  3. Pingback: Best Developments for KC in 2022: MJ Melendez’ Walk Rate | Royals Farm Report

  4. Pingback: Best Developments for KC in 2022: Michael Massey’s Arrival | Royals Farm Report

  5. Pingback: Best Developments for KC in 2022: Drafting Gavin Cross | Royals Farm Report

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