Brady Singer will work out of the bullpen to start the year, according to General Manager J.J. Picollo on an appearance on The Border Patrol on 810 WHB this morning, which likely leaves the fifth spot in the rotation to Daniel Lynch, although no announcement has been made yet.
“There’s going to be opportunities - in this case for Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar - to come out of the pen and help us win a ballgame and that’s what we need them to do. They belong on this team, they’re very talented. Their role right now is one that will allow them to compete at this level and then work their way back into the rotation at some point.”
Zack Greinke will begin the season opener against Cleveland on Thursday, followed by Brad Keller, left-hander Kris Bubic, and right-hander Carlos Hernández. Mike Matheny indicated earlier this week that the last spot was between Lynch and Singer.
Singer, a first round pick out of the University of Florida in 2018, has made 39 starts over the last two seasons with a 4.62 ERA but a 4.05 FIP and 192 strikeouts in 192 2⁄3 innings. The 25-year old right-hander had some bad luck last year with a .350 BABIP but had the third-best called strike rate in the majors with a terrific slider and a solid sinking fastball. The Royals have tried to get him to work in a change up more often, a pitch he threw just 89 times last year.
Lynch was also a first round pick in 2018 out of the University of Virginia. The 25-year old lefty was rocked in his first three big league starts last year, but pitched much better after a demotion and return in July. Over his last 12 starts, he had a 4.35 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 60 innings. Lynch features a mid-90s fastball, and a slider that opposing batters hit just .188 against last year, whiffing 41 percent of the time.
Royals starters finished last year with a 4.97 ERA, fourth-worst in the American League, but the team is counting on these young pitchers to take a step forward. With Lynch, the Royals will have four starters age 26 or younger.