Phillies prospect Jeff Singer could be a wild card bullpen option in 2020
Developments between MLB and the MLBPA Saturday evening all but set in stone that a Phillies season of around 50 games is the likely scenario for 2020.
Each game will matter in the standings more than ever before.
Whether the Phillies subject top prospects Alec Bohm and Spencer Howard to this unprecedented season is one thing, but they also have other Major League-ready players in the system that could make all the difference under new manager Joe Girardi.
Among them is southpaw reliever Jeff Singer.
The Holy Cross High School and Rutgers-Camden University alumnus inked a minor-league deal with the Phillies in October 2015, joining the system after going 1-4 with a 5.26 ERA in the last-ever season of the Camden Riversharks.
Singer started the 2016 season at Williamsport and was twice promoted, to Lakewood and Clearwater; that year, he went a combined 2-1 with a 1.79 ERA and 0.893 WHIP with 46 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings.
The following year, Singer made his way to Reading and struggled a bit, but rebounded with the Fightin’ Phils in 2018, earning his first and only stint to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. As an IronPig, Singer’s ERA quickly rose to 19.64 in just four outings. Yet, just as he had done before in his career, he found a way to “right the ship.”
Singer never was promoted to Triple-A in 2019, but at the Double-A level, he surely turned some heads: going 7-0 with a 2.34 ERA, 74-22 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 0.989 WHIP across 42 appearances and 61 2/3 innings.
After, he shined some more in the 2019-20 Puerto Rican Winter League, going 3-0 with 2.38 ERA in 11 games.
Could 2020 finally be the year Singer, now 26, will earn his call to “The Show?”
On Sunday, Singer took to social media to share a 16-second clip, showing he is ready to go if called upon. His fastball clocked in north of 92 miles per hour.
During the time off, Singer has worked on his game at The Complete Pitcher, a backyard pitching facility belonging to his former Riversharks teammate Ryan Kulik. Kulik went on to pitch at Triple-A for the St. Louis Cardinals and Colorado Rockies; now, he is also helping former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Christian Hackenberg become a professional pitcher.
Singer is not currently on the Phillies’ 40-man roster. Their current such southpaw reliever options include: Jose Alvarez, Garrett Cleavinger, Austin Davis, Cole Irvin, Adam Morgan, JoJo Romero, Cristopher Sanchez and Ranger Suarez. One of them would likely be designated for assignment if the Phillies promote Singer to the MLB level.
Time will tell just how the 2020 bullpen, and roster overall, takes shape when “spring” training resumes, likely later this month. While a deal is not yet official, it appears the MLB and MLBPA have exhausted negotiation efforts and will resort to a near-50-game season.