Jeff Singer got a taste of the major leagues and naturally the lefthander from Cinnaminson is hungry for more.
Wearing the Phillies’ red No. 88 jersey, Singer pitched in a Spring Training game last month against the Tigers, saying, “it was cool.”
“There were definitely nerves in my bullpen,” Singer said last week from Clearwater. “I knew I was going in, I was told I was pitching the next inning, so I definitely had some nerves, but once I got out on the mound I realized it was like any other game.
“I’ve been playing the game since I was five and I played with some great players and I’ve been around some of the guys in the locker room already, just talking to them and getting a feel and they are just like everyone else, they are just guys playing the game.
“So I just enjoyed it and tried to enjoy the moment as much as I could and I feel like I took advantage of it.”
Singer, a relief pitcher from Holy Cross Academy and Rutgers-Camden University, is indeed taking advantage of his opportunity. In his second season in the organization after signing a minor league contract with the Phillies in October of 2015. Singer has pitched in four games for Clearwater in the Single A Florida State League without allowing a run in 6.1 innings.
And he picked up his first win this season on Saturday night when his fastball hit 96 miles per hour, according to Singer's agent Jim Ulrich of Mount Laurel.
“I’m definitely more comfortable now,” Singer said. “I know most of the guys well on the team, so I’m definitely really comfortable with everyone.”
Singer made his pro debut last year, pitching on the Single A level at Lakewood, Clearwater and Williamsport and posting a 2-1 record with a 1.79 ERA in 40.1 innings. Since turning pro, he has been working on his slider to go along with his smoking fastball.
“It’s going good, when I was in the Fall League I worked on it a lot with Steve Schrenk, the Phillies Double A pitching coach, so I worked with him a lot on it and he helped me out,” Singer said about the slider. “I feel more comfortable throwing it and I feel like I can throw it at any count now, so I’m really lucky to be able to command that pitch as well as my fastball.”
Certainly, Singer is being modest talking about “being lucky” because he grinded to be in this position to pitch someday for the Phillies.
There was no luck involved when Singer pitched in the Arizona Fall League with the Scorpions where he flashed a 1.12 ERA in 12.2 innings.
Singer, 23, was a teammate of Tim Tebow in Arizona. The former NFL quarterback is in the Mets’ organization.
“I was just trying to focus on myself and not worry about what was going on with him, but he seemed like a nice guy,” Singer said. “The first week, it was exciting to see the cameras there, but you could see most the guys were just trying to get there work in … I just had to pitch my game and focus on myself.
“I had a lot of good friends down there from the Phillies’ organization, so I was lucky enough to have them there.”
Singer, who is 6-foot, 200 pounds, was signed by Phillies scout Rowland George, a former star pitcher and basketball player at Pennsauken. George saw Singer pitching in the Atlantic League for the Camden Riversharks in 2015.
After graduating from Holy Cross in 2011, Singer crisscrossed New Jersey playing at Rowan College at Gloucester County for two years before going to Monmouth University for a year and finishing up at Rutgers-Camden in 2014.
Singer was picked up in mid-summer of 2015 by the Riversharks and worked in the bullpen. Now, across the Delaware River from Campbell’s Field with the Phillies’ organization, Singer could be pitching his way to a promotion to Double A Reading, which would be much closer to his home in Cinnaminson, but more importantly another step closer to his dream.
“My goal this year is to get lefties out and get as many innings as I can under my belt and just command my fastball and slider,” Singer said. “I don’t know what my role will be or where they will put me, I’m just trying to do my best.”