Houston Astros Hitting Prospects: Singleton Ready to Shine (Eventually)


As we march through the American League in alphabetical order, the Seedlings to Stars STAT-Scan scanner set its sights on Houston.  Oh, yeah, Houston is in the American League now!  Yes, we almost forgot too.  But here they are, and the S2S STAT-Scan picked up more than a few interesting numbers from the 2012 season among the Astros of the future.

Each player is assigned a “Plate Skills Index,” which is based on the ability to “win plate appearances” (described in detail here), a “Production Index,” based on the ability to produce offense (described in detail here), and a “Composite Index,” which is a combination of the two.  Additional detail on “the three numbers,” with some examples, can be found here.

Jonathan Singleton is preparing to launch toward a spot in Houston. Mandatory Credit: H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports via USA TODAY Sports

It is important to remember that age, level and position also factor into the analysis.  And note that this is a statistical analysis of the actual results, so scouting reports don’t factor into the numbers.

Threat Level: Midnight

Jonathan Singleton, 1b  (S2S Top 115 #26) … Age: 20, Level: AA

Plate Skills: 134  Production: 114  Composite: 148

Now that’s what a future MLB hitting star looks like … except for the ugly bit about the 50-game suspension for marijuana use.

Once that is over,  the Astros will expect the first baseman to revert to 2012 form: Home runs, doubles, walks … the whole package.  And putting up that line at age 20 in AA, well, that earned Singleton the rarely-awarded “Threat Level: Midnight” designation.

The only quibble we found is a strikeout rate a bit on the high side (and, of course, the suspension), but 21 HR and 88 walks go a long way toward making up for the strikeouts.

High Alert

Andrew Aplin, CF … Age 21, Level: Short Season-A, High-A

Plate Skills: 111  Production: 109  Composite: 120

A lefty-hitting center fielder, Applin came screaming onto the radar screen with a .348/.441/.537 line in 44 games in the short season New York-Penn League.  That earned him a ticket to the High-A California League at the end of the year.  The 5th-round pick out of Arizona State also finished with seven triples and 24 steals.

Delino DeShields, 2b (S2S Top 115 #35) … Age 19, Level: Low-A, High-A

Plate Skills: 108  Production: 86  Composite: 94

Like Aplin, DeShields earned a late promotion to High-A.  The second baseman, son of the similarly monikered former Montreal Expo, finished with 12 HR, but his “Production” number reflects that he didn’t hit as many doubles as one would expect.  But the 83 walks and .389 OBP are plenty good for a middle infielder, especially for a guy who was still in his teens.

On the Radar

Domingo Santana, RF … Age: 19, Level: High-A

Plate Skills: 87  Production: 105  Composite: 92

A 19-year-old slugging over .500 gets one’s attention anytime, although Santana was in the offensively turbocharged California League.  He struck out way too often, but he might be able to bring that down as he matures.  He’s definitely one worth watching.

Distant Early Warning

Carlos Correa, SS (S2S Top 115 #39) … Age: 17, Level: Rookie

Plate Skills: 58  Production: 84  Composite: 42

No, Correa didn’t really put up interesting stats after joining the Houston system as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft.  But he was just 17, and playing shortstop, so we’re grading on a curve here.  He showed a decent bit of pop, and, if he can learn to walk more, he’ll be fine.

On the Whole

The Astros show quite a bit more depth than most systems, and we didn’t even mention George Springer (S2S Top 115 #27), who struck out way too much (26.9%) to register, and a handful of others who put up some interesting numbers.  After netting just 55 wins in the National League in 2012, Houston needs the help as it joins the AL West and will face their Lone Star rivals from Arlington a lot more often.