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Inside the Phillies got the chance to have a chat with Philadelphia Phillies minor league pitcher Jeff Singer. 

Singer signed with the Phillies in Oct. 2015 and has spent five seasons in Philadelphia's minor league system. He's appeared in 202 games across A, AA, and AAA. In 2021, the lefty posted a 4.75 ERA and struck out 67 batters in 53 innings, taking home IronPigs Pitcher of the Year award. 

The 28-year-old is now giving his thoughts on the MLB lockout from a minor leaguer's perspective, and how it affects their ultimate goal: debuting in the Show.

Lauren Amour: Can you walk me through a typical day during the offseason in minicamp and spring training? How does that differ from a typical day during the regular season?

Jeff Singer: So basically, this being my seventh year, our days have changed drastically from my first year in 2016 to this year in 2022. It's changed a lot, I think it's changed pretty good for us, especially with our time to recover. Usually, on days like today I threw live, so I was able to get to the field around 10 a.m., but on days we don't throw live, I'll get to the field around 8 a.m., get myself situated, get some breakfast. We would go into our training room, get our arms loose, do some shoulder stretches, just the normal stuff. Head to the weight room, get our body activated, and then we would have skill-set, just to figure out some of the stuff we have to get better at; stretch with a few pitchers in our group, play catch. 

Depending on what day it is, we do either hard sprints or something on the assault bike. Then I go to the gym and get our workout in, and that's a regular day. If it's a day you have to throw live, you add that to the mix. Coming from Triple-A last year, there's a lot more time, especially if there's a home game to sit down and relax in the clubhouse. But the biggest difference is, obviously, we get everything done in a pretty good sequence here right now, which has been great.

Lauren Amour: With the MLB lockout going on, there have been many questions raised about the minors and compensation. How do you think the system should be changed to better support players in the minor leagues?

Jeff Singer: I mean, being a minor leaguer is tough, especially back then and now, it's tough being a minor leaguer. Especially money-wise, being away from home, finding [housing], but it seems like this year we're going to have [housing] paid for, which is great. But honestly, it's one of those things where it's not my decision, I'm not the one making those calls, so you just have to wear it. It's a grind, once you get to the big leagues you kind of appreciate it more, but I'm not entitled to make those decisions, I'm not in those meetings, so I couldn't really tell you. 

For me, it's not my first year, it's my seventh, so I've been going through it, and I can tell you it's a lot better than it was in 2016 with how it is in the minor leagues. So, it's one of those things where it seems to be getting better and better for us each year, so hopefully, that keeps going. But again, it's one of those things where we're not in those meetings, we're kind of just here and trying to make it. You can either put your head down, pitch well enough to get to the show or you can complain, it is what it is, you just don't want to stir the pot sometimes.

Lauren Amour: With the shortened 2020 season and now the lockout, how has that hindered yours and other minor leaguers' development and major league timelines?

Jeff Singer: It's definitely tough. You know, with 2020 happening, I think I was having one of my best spring trainings; I know I got a lot of time at the big league camp as a back-up and I threw really well. And then COVID-19 happened, I wasn't able to play baseball, but I was very lucky because my family and friends were still healthy. It's one of those things where you got to look at the big picture, and it kind of showed some guys that there's life after baseball or life during baseball. For me at that time, it was kind of tough to really bring those two perspectives together. It sucked for everyone, it wasn't just baseball that was suffering, it was the whole world.

But with the lockout, you know, it's tough. We don't have our 40-man guys here, we don't have our big league guys here to really see what they're doing and what got them to the big leagues. Now with me being one of the older guys, I'm kind of the one who understands it the most I'd like to think, about the grind and working hard, and doing the stuff you got to do to get ready. So, really all you can do is go about your business and do your job. When it comes to the lockout and everything as of right now, I know the minor league season is still going on as is, so all you can do is go out there and compete.

Lauren Amour: You've been in the Phillies system since 2015 and have seen it undergo leadership changes. How do you feel the culture has changed during that span?

Jeff Singer: It's changed a lot. I'm on my third general manager, I'm on my third field coordinator, third minor league coordinator. You can see that some of the old ways are still there, you can see it's more kind of going in the times whether it's Driveline, with those guys who really enjoy the weighted ball programs, guys that really enjoy not doing the long-distance running, a lot less time on our feet, standing around. 

From 2016 to 2022, I was just lucky to be able to be a part of this organization and have a job, you don't want to rock the boat too much to where you got to go about your business. I grew up in the generation where whatever your coach says, goes, whatever your manager says, you do. I'd like to think that I'm one of the last guys who understands that and gets after it.

Lauren Amour: How did the past system help you develop? And do you believe Preston Mattingly and the new staff will help to continue that development?

Jeff Singer: I think Preston and everyone we have that came in this year are doing a great job. They seem to really care about what the Phillies are about, the culture, the Philadelphia lifestyle, being blue-collar and stuff, they get it. I'm really excited to see how it's going to culminate in the season. Again, I think it was harder when it comes to 2016, 2017, 2018, and stuff, it was a grind those years. Especially spring training, we had really, really long days, and granted, I don't know what it's going to be like because we haven't officially started the minor league camp yet, but those were tasking days. 

When I say that, I mean, we were at the field for eight hours during that time, and there was a lot of sitting around, so it's really nice to see we get our work done, you know what you did, you feel good about it, go home, get your rest, and feel prepared for the next day, That's something I'm really enjoying. They've been great. We have a whole new mental skills staff, so they've been really good at just talking to guys mentally, getting the way guys think, and I think we're doing a great job with that also.

Jeff Singer representing the Phillies in the Arizona Fall League in 2016.

Jeff Singer representing the Phillies in the Arizona Fall League in 2016.

Lauren Amour: You've been teammates with many different Phillies prospects across every level of the minor leagues. Is there somebody who's left a lasting impression on you or helped you to develop as a player either physically or mentally over the last six years? If not a player, a coach?

Jeff Singer: I played with a lot of guys that are in our big league system right now. But Shawn Williams is probably one of my favorite managers to play for, and he's still with the Phillies, which I'm happy about. I'd do anything for him when it comes to playing in the game, whenever he gives me the ball, I was excited for it. Same with Aaron Fultz who's no longer with the Phillies, I had him as a pitching coach every year mostly. Those are two guys I think really helped me out.

When it comes to players, I built good relationships with a lot of past Phillies. Some of those guys like Luke Williams became a really good friend, we would talk baseball and relate mentally. Same with Mickey Moniak, and even guys that used to be with the Phillies, like Austin Bossart, Drew Stankiewicz, Luke Leftwich, all those guys, they really helped me get into the system and grow up.

Lauren Amour: What are you currently focusing on to step up your game in 2022? What are your goals for this season?

Jeff Singer: It's kind of tough, I was [IronPigs] Pitcher of the Year last year, so I think I got to just keep doing what I'm doing. They tell me to do something, I'm going to do it respectfully, and do whatever I can to make it to the big leagues and help out the big league club.

Lauren Amour: You were born in Philadelphia and are a Holy Cross grad. Did you root for the Phillies growing up? Any favorite players you idolized?

Jeff Singer: I grew up a fan of all four Philly sports teams, the Eagles, Flyers, Sixers, Phillies, even the Wings and the Union when I was growing up. Randy Wolf was a guy I really enjoyed watching play, Cliff Lee, all of the good lefty pitchers the Phillies had back in the day. Obviously, with the guys from the 2008 team, like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Jayson Werth, Pat Burrell...all those guys were a lot of fun to watch growing up. But I'd say Randy Wolf was probably my favorite pitcher as a kid growing up.

A huge thank you to Jeff Singer for taking the time to talk with Inside the Phillies about his experience in baseball and the MLB lockout.

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