Sophomore Brady Singer was firing off in a scrimmage on Monday and gave some of the better hitters on the Florida quad a bit of what he is capable of. Outings like that and the way he performed all of last year has O’Sullivan really excited for what is ahead.
“He’s been throwing the ball as good as he’s thrown it since he’s been here,” O’Sullivan said of Singers play early this spring. “His last inning Monday was about as dominant an inning as I’ve seen. He went through, I think it was Deacon, India and J.J. and he punched all three of them out in the one inning and was just dominant. That was his fourth inning (of the scrimmage).
“He’s different. He’s different. He went in the second round for a reason (out of high school). He’s even better now than he was and that kinda tells you where he’s at. Fastball is up to 97. It’s got tremendous life and sink. He goes both sides of the plate with his slider, he can backdoor to lefties, back foot it to lefties. He throws it for a strike to right-handers. He can expand the zone. He throws strikes. His changeup is so much more improved so he’s got weapons versus lefties now that maybe he didn’t have in the past. He’s a No. 1 on most teams, most staffs in the country. We’re fortunate to have, I think once again, three number ones. I like our chances when he pitches against someone’s number two. Obviously he’s only a sophomore but I would expect him to have a great year for us. The way he’s been throwing the ball right now I think he’s going to have a great, great year for us.”
Catcher Mike Rivera loves confidence in his pitchers and he wants them to come to the mound with a bit of an attitude. Singer has confidence in spades right now.
“I think it’s pretty high, not bragging but I feel confident on the mound,” Singer said. “When you’re throwing your pitches and you have confidence, you’re going to play a long time.”
“I feel like I’ve gotten a lot stronger. I feel like pitching is really going well. (I’m) working on a few things, going from bullpen to a starter role. I think it’s longer innings every outing is really helping me because I’ll have a lot more innings this year.”
Last year as a freshman was a little different for Singer. He was the guy in high school starting games and throwing for an entire game. A year ago he came in relief and instead of pacing himself, he had to just come right at batters with everything he had and get out who he could.
“It was different,” he said. “Coming out of the pen, I feel you have to throw a lot more strikes and just be completely I think more dominant. It’s definitely different. But I’m excited to get in a starter role this year. I think it will pay off good.”
He understands it has to be a different mindset.
“I think pitch more efficiently,” he said about the new role. “Especially when we start, I’m going to have to throw fewer pitches and pitch in the game longer, give the bullpen a break.”
Now Singer looks to follow in the footsteps of the Aces the Gators had a year ago that are playing professional baseball. He is expected to start on Saturdays this spring and summer.
“Saturday is a big spot, especially once you win the Friday game, I think Faedo is going to do that a lot this year,” he said. “Going in there in the Saturday spot and try to clinch a series is going to be pretty exciting.”
Along with a little added velocity, Singer really worked on a change-up that he feels is really going to help hos game and is a pitch that O’Sullivan says he has “a tremendous amount of confidence” in.
“(Velocity) might have gone up a little bit. I feel like I’m throwing harder earlier in the year than I was last year. I’m going to have the change-up this year. I’ve been working on the change-up for a couple months. I worked on it all offseason.”
The season starts in about a week and Singer will start the second game of the season barring some craziness to that point. As much as he has pitched at a high level in a Gator uniform and is ready for the season, that first start is going to have him a little wound up. But once he gets those original nerves eased, watch out.
“Absolutely, I’m always going to have nerves in the first start,” Singer said. “Not every start. I know last year the first time I came in I was definitely nervous.”