My first 2 previews every year are the guy projected to go First overall and my favorite prospect. Singer is the guy most commonly projected to go First, but decidedly not my favorite. I typically cover the top prospect because most years I figured it unlikely that player would fall to the Phillies and not once has that player gone #1 (though only twice has that player been available at our pick). This year we pick 3rd and it’s quite conceivable the current projected #1 could fall that far. Would we want the Phillies to select him if he does fall to them?
Brady Singer’s been in the draft discussion before, he was selected by the Blue Jays in the Second Round in 2015. Right before he was going to sign, however, he failed his physical and went unsigned, freeing him to attend Florida and enjoy a rather absurd rotation in which he pitched with Alex Faedo and AJ Puk (both of whom dropped like lead rocks in the draft and have done well in pro ball, so far). Singer is a 6’5”, 200 lbs right handed pitcher with a mid-90’s Fastball and a wipeout Slider and really not much else. I’m sure some are thinking “That sounds like a reliever profile, why is he in discussion for #1?” Well, it’s largely because those two pitches are really, really good. If his fall back ends up being the bullpen he has dominating potential there. It’s also partly because this Draft is not as strong as some recent ones (in my opinion).
We’ll start with his Fastball. It’s lively, to the point that it looks like there’s a string attached as it jerks late to the arm side. Often times with lots of movement comes struggles in locating. Singer does not suffer from a lot of that (more on that when I discuss his mechanics), he can locate the pitch fairly reliably. His frame is still fairly lanky, so I think you can project some additional velocity as possible. He’s not going to throw 100, but with his movement an extra 2 mph could have a huge impact.
His other main pitch is his Slider. His draft profile in 2015 was basically that previous paragraph and a sentence about a breaking ball with average to above-average potential. He refined his Slider significantly at Florida (some have credited his rotation made Alex Faedo who rode his plus breaking ball to the Tigers’ first round pick last year). The slider made a jump in control from 2016 to 2017. In 2016 he had quite a few sliders that didn’t break on videos I’ve watched and missed the plate, sometimes by feet. In 2017, from videos I’ve watched (and seems to be backed up by scouting reports available publicly) he still has the occasional slider that doesn’t break, but his slider overall looks tighter and hits the spot where the Catcher places his glove more often than not.
The Fastball and Slider are both plus pitches, but Starters need a 3rd pitch to succeed in the Majors. Hitters will figure out your Fastball and Slider by their 3rd appearance (maybe their second) if that’s all you’ve got. At present, that’s pretty much all Singer’s got. He hasn’t needed more as high schoolers couldn’t figure out his fastball and his Slider has made good College hitters look bad. Task number one for him before June should be getting a changeup to, at least, show average potential.
Now for video. Weirdly there isn’t a ton of stuff with Brady on youtube that’s current (a lot of 2016 material). I saw him a good bit on TV last year because of Florida’s playoff run, so going off that and the below clip is about what I’ve got. What I like about Singer’s delivery: he’s fast to the release, to the point he seems to be pitching from the stretch full time and he hide’s the ball well with his 3⁄4 delivery (they focus on that briefly in the video). What I don’t like: pretty much everything else. He lands his lead foot early and then gets most of his velocity from his trunk rotation and arm whip. It hurts just watching it. Nola has a similar funky delivery, but what worries me about Singer’s is that previously mentioned physical after the 2015 draft. Is he a ticking time bomb to blow out his elbow? I’d hate to draft a Pitcher in the first handful of picks and set about completely overhauling his delivery, but without that I’m not sure I have much faith in his longevity.
I’m not excited about Brady Singer. Not just at #1 overall, I’d be hard pressed to get excited to take him any earlier than late First Round. His stuff is electric and he could prove me wrong and take his weird delivery to Ace status like Chris Sale, but so many things raise Future Reliever red flags. Here in the early stages of draft analysis I was more excited about the 2016 draft class, which was probably the weakest class in, at least 7 or 8 years. Hopefully over the next few months someone takes a leap forward (since the Phillies are picking 3rd, hopefully 3 guys take a big leap forward).