2018 College Player of the Year: Brady Singer

Looking back on his remarkable regular season, Florida righthander Brady Singer is drawn all the way back to facing Siena on Opening Day. The junior took over as the Gators’ ace and came into the year regarded as the top prospect in this year’s draft class. The Gators were the defending national champions and all eyes were on Singer to get the season off to a strong start.

Singer did just that. He threw 89 pitches in seven innings and struck out eight batters while holding Siena to one run (unearned) on two hits and a walk.

“Walking out there for the first time my junior year with all the pressure – you know the draft stuff and people are watching with the No. 1 tag on me,” Singer said. “To go into that start and get it started on the right foot going into the next weekend with Miami, I think that was the toughest one.”

Singer has carried that momentum through the rest of the season. As Florida’s ace, he helped lead the Gators to the Southeastern Conference title and the top seed in the NCAA Tournament. He went 10-1, 2.25 with a 92-to-18 strikeout-to-walk ratio and held opposing hitters to a .186 batting average in 88 innings. He carried the mantle of being the early favorite to be the No. 1 draft pick well and while he is no longer expected to be the top selection, he is still expected to be drafted in the top six picks.

For his exemplary season and his premium talent, Singer is the 2018 Baseball America College Player of the Year.

Singer has long been regarded as a high-level prospect. He ranked No. 54 on the BA 500 pre-draft rankings in 2015, when he was coming out of Eustis (Fla.) High and was drafted No. 56 overall by the Blue Jays that June. He was the top-ranked prospect in the Cape Cod League after his freshman season. Through it all, he has lived up to the high expectations and now joins Mike Zunino as the only Gators to be named College Player of the Year.

Singer has impressive physical tools and some of the best stuff in the country. He gets a lot of sinking action on his low-90s fastball and his sharp slider can be an out-pitch.

After watching him pitch, those tools are readily apparent. What’s more difficult to see is the hard work he puts in between starts to prepare. Coach Kevin O’Sullivan said Singer has completely changed his body over his three years at Florida, filling out his lanky frame and getting stronger.

Beyond those physical gains, Singer also spends a lot of time on the mental side of the game.

“He’s a tremendously hard worker between starts,” O’Sullivan said. “Forget just the weight room but the watching of video and preparation and understanding the game.”

Singer’s competitiveness is also a part of what makes him an elite college pitcher. That competitive fire famously spilled over last year in super regionals when his appearance was interrupted by the umpteenth rain delay of the weekend in Gainesville.

Singer’s mentality on the mound helps him excel on big stages. He last year was at his best in the College World Series. This year he rose to the occasion time after time when facing the SEC’s best pitchers, including outdueling Auburn’s Casey Mize in front of more than 60 scouts.

Singer said his competitive spirit comes from his parents, especially his mother.

“Even when we play board games we can’t lose,” he said. “She’s a huge competitor and I get it from her.”

All those pieces have come together for Singer to make him a true college ace and the leader of the best pitching staff in the country. And they should enable him to sustain that success for years to come.

“This guy’s going to pitch forever,” O’Sullivan said. “It’s not just ability. He’s extremely talented, and he has a competitive spirit. He’s just different. That’s hard to come by.”

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