Royals’ Singer ready for year two after getting ‘seasoning’
It's been an exciting offseason for the Kansas City Royals. With a long list of key additions coming to camp, second-year pitcher Brady Singer said there's a different feeling around the team this season.
"There's a buzz, absolutely," Singer said. "I think the buzz around the team is we're here to play, and we're here to win."
This time last year, Singer was gearing up for his first big league camp. Now, with a year of experience under his belt, he said he's ready for the challenge.
"It was unbelievable, it's everything I've ever dreamed of," Singer said. "Had a blast, learned a lot... Just trying to continue to learn, trying to continue to get better and enjoy the process."
Singer and the Royals were preparing for the season as usual last year, but COVID-19 threw things for a loop. His rookie season only lasted 60 games, so Singer said things are different this go-round.
"Last year was good. I personally learned a lot, and I think a lot of other guys did too," Singer said. "This year, it's going to, obviously, be a longer season, but we're excited."
Ultimately, Singer said he thinks the 60-game sprint to start his career was good for him, as it eased him into his career.
"It was quick. I feel like it was a little bit of seasoning," Singer said. "There was definitely pressure, but fans bring pressure. There's a lot of other things that bring pressure."
Singer handled the pressure well, as he burst onto the scene for the Royals in his shortened rookie season. After a slow 1-4 start, the 24-year-old won three of his last four starts, including flirting with a no-hitter, to finish with a 4-5 record. He compiled a 4.06 ERA and 61 strikeouts across 64 1/3 innings pitched. His season was highlighted by the eight-inning, eight-strikeout one-hitter in September.
Singer was joined by fellow rookie Kris Bubic in the starting rotation last season. Royals manager Mike Matheny said the pair responded very well to the challenges that were presented to them over the season, and they've made significant strides to better themselves in the offseason.
"Ideally, would've had 162 to figure out how far we could've pushed them and how much they could've helped us get to where we want to be," Matheny said. "But it was what it was, and now we just use that experience to help them move forward."
Singer and Bubic lead a wave of young pitching that will be making its way to Kansas City over the next few seasons. With the likes of Daniel Lynch, Asa Lacy and Singer's college teammate at Florida, Jackson Kowar, in the pipeline, Singer said he's looking forward to being a resource for the pitchers that follow him.
"We're all best friends, so they can talk about whatever they want, and we can help them with whatever they want," Singer said. "Maybe they don't want to ask somebody a certain something about this or that, and they can, obviously, come up to me or Bubic and ask it."
Although it was a rookie season like not many pitchers before him have seen, Singer said he's taken many lessons that will help him improve as he approaches year two.
"I think the main thing I learned is never take your foot off the gas," Singer said. "You just can't take a break. You take a step back and reset, but you gotta keep going and keep pushing through that lineup."
With a newfound buzz surrounding the Royals clubhouse as the team prepares for the 2021 season, Singer said he and his teammates are ready to hit the ground running.
"Heck of an offseason for all of us, with the signings and stuff like that," Singer said. "We're all on the same page, we're all excited and we can't wait to get going."
Full team workouts begin in Surprise, Arizona, on Monday.