Kansas City Royals starter Brady Singer aims to reset with ‘normal’ spring training

Kansas City Royals pitcher Brady Singer sought a level of normalcy. Last offseason, Singer got the opportunity to represent the United States in the World Baseball Classic (WBC).

Singer enjoyed the WBC experience. However, he didn’t spend much time throwing in actual games. He tossed two innings and allowed four runs in his lone WBC outing against Mexico.

As a result, Singer couldn’t replicate a normal offseason. He started throwing early in anticipation of joining Team USA. His schedule was different and his 2023 production was a bit uneven.

Singer had a 5.52 ERA in 29 starts. He threw a career-high 159 ⅔ innings and dealt with a back injury. The Royals placed Singer on the 15-day injured list with a left lumbar strain in September.

Singer was shut down for the remainder of the season. It was the best course of action as Singer got perhaps what he needed most … rest.

“I got some good rest and, you know, got that (lumbar strain) taken care of,” Singer said. “That feels really good and the body feels great.”

Singer, 27, also became a new dad. He and his wife, Tori, welcomed their son Beau in September.

“I was trying to be a dad the whole time and trying to figure all that out,” Singer said of his offseason. “It was good training and good throwing. It went really quick, but obviously, I’m excited to be back here.”

Singer started throwing again in late November. It was a few weeks later than when he began throwing a year prior.

The extra time allowed him to tinker with his pitching arsenal. He worked on refining his four-seam fastball, sweeper and developing a split-change (a variation of a splitter and changeup). Singer also kept his go-to slider in his repertoire as well.

“I’m trying to have more options throughout the year and try to just make everything a little bit sharper for this upcoming season,” Singer said.

The Royals hope Singer can rebound this year. This offseason, KC signed veteran starters Seth Lugo and Michael Wacha to free-agent deals. The Royals also return starters Cole Ragans, Jordan Lyles, Daniel Lynch IV, Kris Bubic and Alec Marsh, among others.

There is competition with added starting depth. Singer is expected to begin as the fourth starter in the rotation. However, the Royals have options available should he falter early in the season.

“Brady needs a normal spring,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “You know, last year was extremely disjointed. He still was out there to compete every night throughout the season, but it will definitely help him to have a normal spring.”

So what does a normal spring look like? Generally, MLB teams ramp up their starting pitchers slowly. This includes doing bullpen sessions, fielding exercises and throwing live batting practice.

A starter may work a couple innings or be on a pitch count in early spring training games. Then, they gradually begin throwing deeper in starts. This allows for a pitcher to be built up to handle at least 75-80 pitches before the season begins.

Royals pitching coach Brian Sweeney has been impressed with Singer so far in camp. He expects to see a difference in Singer this season.

“He’s got a chip on his shoulder,” Sweeney said. “This guy is a huge competitor on the mound. This guy competes his butt off and he is back with a vengeance. He is fully healthy and ready to go to help this team. It’s exciting to see. He had a helluva day (Friday). His stuff was moving all over the place. It’s almost like he is locked in for the start of the season. It was really fun to see him at full health again.”

Singer has shown flashes of brilliance in his career. In 2022, he won 10 games and posted a 3.23 ERA in 27 starts. He emerged as a breakout pitcher that season. Now, he will look to regain that status once again.

The Royals have three years of club control left before Singer hits unrestricted free agency ahead of the 2027 season. Singer is due to make $4.85 million this upcoming season, per Spotrac.

The 2024 campaign is a big year for him to produce. The Royals have a new slogan, “Reign the Zone,” and Singer is ready to embrace that mentality.

“I think that rest and recovery this offseason and toward the end of the (last) year is going to be really beneficial for me,” Singer said.