Friday, July 29, 2011

Welcome Wagon: Jon Singleton

Let's look at the three players the Astros just acquired, shall we?

Jonathan Singleton

Singleton was a Philadelphia 8th Round pick in the 2009 draft, and was largely considered to be Philly's top prospect (FanGraphs puts him at #2, behind Domonic Brown). He'll be 20 in mid-September, is 6'2", 215lbs, and was Baseball America's 39th-ranked prospect coming into 2011.

In 2009, he played 31 games for the Phillies' GCL team, hitting .290/.395/.440, with 13K:18BB. Playing for Lakewood, in the South Atlantic League, in 104 games he hit .290/.393/.479, with 74K:62BB in 2010. In 2011, he advanced to High-A Clearwater, where he was hitting .282/.386/.411, with 14 doubles and nine homers in 378 plate appearances.

The question is about his defense. Singleton played first in 2009 and 2010, but has split time between left field (30 games) and first base (45 games) in 2011. It could go either way: The Astros could put him back at 1B, since Mills can't trust Brett Wallace to even think about a left-handed pitcher.

Of course, they could just make Singleton a full-time outfielder. With J.D. Martinez' call-up, there's a gap. And if Singleton can hold it down in the outfield, he could start in LF in 2013, when Carlos Lee is mercifully off the team. If the Astros thought too much of J.B. Shuck, he would have come up to Houston instead of Martinez.

I also wonder if he will move to the corresponding level, which would be Lancaster. David Flores has been playing 1B for the JetHawks, and is hitting .325/.385/.577. Kody Hinze was recently called up, and is flat-out killing the ball, hitting .348/.410/.623 for Double-A Corpus Christi, in 19 games.

Of course, they could just make Singleton a full-time outfielder. With J.D. Martinez' call-up, there's a gap. And if Singleton can hold it down in the outfield, he could start in LF in 2013, when Carlos Lee is mercifully off the team. If the Astros thought too much of J.B. Shuck, he would have come up to Houston instead of Martinez.

So here's a guess: If the Astros keep him at 1B, it's unlikely, but possible (as OremLK notes, he's only 19) he could go to OKC, and put pressure on Brett Wallace, effectively ending Koby Clemens' shot at Astros glory. If the Astros move him permanently to OF, he goes to Corpus and takes J.D. Martinez' spot.

UPDATE: He's fared much better at 1B than in the outfield, so let's call him a 1B.

2 comments:

OremLK said...

Slow down, he's just 19. Hinze will move up to AAA next year, and Singleton will probably take his spot at AA, pending his August performance in the CAL. Earliest Singleton could possibly see time in the majors is late 2012, and that's really pushing it (would require a massive breakout season and nothing standing in his way from Wallace/Hinze).

Keep in mind we could keep Singleton in the minors for 4 more full seasons and he could still only be 24 and still a prospect when called up. He's young enough that we have plenty of time to assess the situation with both Wallace and Hinze and figure out what to do with them.

If a trade is necessary a few years down the road, that's fine.

Warren said...

Shuck is coming up next for Astros. 294 average 390 OBP at triple A. Singleton is a very long range prospect. He is Wallace-like against left handers. Not much of a fielder either. Only reason Martinez passed Shuck up was because he has been great at all levels. And yes Hinz is next in line to put pressure on Wallace.