After being a consensus top-1oo prospect in all of baseball since 2011, Houston Astros first baseman Jon Singleton will now get his first big league action per Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. Not only that, but Singleton has signed a 5-year, $10 million extension including 3 team options that could raise the total value to $35 million (info via Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports). The deal will cover all his pre-arbitration years, guarantee his first arbitration year, and have the ability to buy out his last 2 arbitration years and first free agent year. It is unprecedented to sign a player with no big league service time, but the Astros saw an opportunity to lock up a talented young player on the cheap end and they took it.
Prior to 2013, it seemed that Singleton was on the cusp of becoming a big leaguer. He was coming off a season in which he put up a .284/.396/.497 line and 21 homers in Double-A. But, before the year even started he was suspended 50-games for testing positive for marijuana, his second failed drug test. When he came back, Singleton was just a shell of his old self, and he put up just a .220/.340/.347 line in 73 Triple-A games while managing only 6 long balls. Because of the disappointing year, the Astros looked outside the organization to bring in a first baseman for this season. They even offered James Loney a similar contract to the 3-year, $21 million deal he ended up signing with the Tampa Bay Rays. Lucky for Singleton, and the Astros, they would never find another first baseman.
Singleton must have taken all the new first baseman speculation personally, because he has put up a monster .267/.397/.544 line and 14 home runs in just 54 Triple-A games so far this year. True to his career .279/.388/.466 minor league slash line, Singleton does a little bit of everything at the plate. He will hit for average, draw more than his fair share of walks, and provide plenty of pop. The 14 home runs in 54 games this season might be a little too good to be true, and Singleton may never be the type of guy to hit 30+ homers year in and year out. But, he should be able to smack 20+ home runs each year, which combined with his ability to hit for average and draw walks will make a valuable asset to an Astros team with a nice young core. There is some swing and miss to his game, as he has struck out 52 times in 54 games this season. His biggest challenge while transitioning to the big leagues will be ensuring that he can keep his strikeouts at a reasonable level. Despite that one shortcoming, Singleton seems poised to be a solid run producer for years to come.
Jon Singleton finally has his chance with the Houston Astros after being told that he would be promoted prior to Tuesday’s game. Not only that, but he gets some financial security by signing a 5-year extension with the club. Only time will tell if everything can work out for the two parties.