The wait has been worth it for both Brady Singer and Kansas City.
Kansas City's top prospect struck out a career-high 10 over six scoreless innings as Class A Advanced Wilmington defeated Frederick, 6-1, on Thursday night at Frawley Stadium. Singer scattered six hits while lowering his ERA through his first eight career starts to 2.47. He hit a batter and did not issue a walk.
"I had all three of my pitches working," Singer said. "I've been struggling off and on with the command of my fastball and two-seamer, but tonight, I was able to work both sides of the plate and get under some barrels. I didn't have a great feel for my slider early, but started to get on top of it later, so it became my go-to pitch late in the count. I threw some pretty good changeups ... all in all, I felt great."
MLB.com's No. 50 overall prospect worked around a first-inning single before finding his strikeout pitch. Singer (4-2) punched out two batters in four of his last five frames to top his previous personal best of seven, which he had done twice this season. The right-hander's only true jam came in the fourth when he allowed three singles, but a pickoff by catcher MJ Melendez -- the Royals' No. 3 prospect -- and a pair of strikeouts kept Frederick off the board.
Gameday box score
"In that particular inning, I'm looking to just limit the damage," Singer said of the jam. "Obviously the goal is to give up no runs, but if you let one score, then you just try and keep it there and not snowball into something more. That's something pitchers learn early on. You can always limit the damage."
Up in the sixth, 6-0, Singer surrendered a leadoff double to Cole Billingsley and a single to Jomar Reyes, then sandwiched a pair of strikeouts around a popout to end his evening after 95 pitches.
Thursday's effort marked the fourth time Singer has completed six innings this year, during which the 22-year-old has surrendered two runs or fewer six times. He has yet to allow more than three earned runs in a start. He has struck out 43 and walked 10 over 43 2/3 innings.
Selected 18th overall last year out of the University of Florida, Singer's collegiate workload and a mild hamstring injury prompted the Royals to keep him off the field. Using a fastball that can top out at 96 mph and a strong slider, the Leesburg, Florida, native went 23-10 with a 3.22 ERA and 281 strikeouts in 282 1/3 innings for the Gators. Singer was drafted by the Blue Jays out of high school three years earlier, but chose to attend Florida after a disagreement with the club over his post-Draft physical.
"[The first six weeks as professional] has been a huge learning experience for me," he said. "I learned how to compete and win in college, but it's different here. The Southeastern Conference was challenging, but there are some hitters where you can get away without having your best stuff. The guys in the pros are here for a reason. They're all good players and the focus needs to go up a notch. It's about setting up batters and pitching to the situation."
2019 MiLB include
Royals No. 5 prospect Nick Pratto and sixth-ranked Seuly Matias contributed RBI doubles during the Blue Rocks' four-run third. Dennicher Carrasco capped Wilmington's scoring with a two-run homer -- his first of the year -- and singled for his third multi-hit effort in eight games.
Frederick starter DL Hall (1-2) yielded four runs on five hits and a walk in a season-low 2 2/3 innings. Baltimore's No. 3 prospect, who struck out five, surrendered four runs for the third time in five starts.
Billingsley went a career-high 4-for-4 with a walk for the Keys.