Matt Duffy has leapfrogged Jon Singleton on the Houston Astros’ totem pole


With the Houston Astros‘ farm systems going ham in the playoffs, one man has reaped the benefits already: Matt Duffy. Not to be confused with the San Francisco Giants player of the same name and oddly enough, same position, Matt Duffy will be joining a Houston Astros team in the heat of a tight American League West race. Luckily for the Houston Astros, Duffy has already helped the Fresno Grizzlies to a their own respective finals. We may be talking about two different leagues, but experience in pressure situations is always welcome.

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Matt Duffy led the Grizzlies in hits, doubles and total bases. He had a .294 average with 20 home runs and 104 RBIs. All of this has earned him the Pacific Coast League MVP. Perhaps the best and most welcome aspect of his game is the lack of strikeouts – just 90 in 490 at bats. The Houston Astros have a strikeout problem. They may call it part of their philosophy, but it is what causes them so much grief.

Where exactly he will fit into the Houston Astros is much more clear than it seems. Despite having Jed Lowrie manning third base and Marwin Gonzalez and Luis Valbuena at first base, Duffy has options. A natural third baseman, he can also DH and play first base. While there is no way he will be taking the DH spot from the big white bear, Evan Gattis, he does play the two positions that the Houston Astros have had to scramble for all year.

Matt Duffy will find plenty of time at first base, where Valbuena is having strikeout and hitting problems in general. Valbuena has rarely hit over .210 this year and lately he is hitting .133 with 6 strikeouts in his last 15 at-bats. For an American League team gunning for the playoffs, that kind of production out of a first baseman is not acceptable.

That’s not to say Matt Duffy will suddenly become the Houston Astros starting first baseman, but with Valbuena only having a year left on his contract, Matt Duffy could very easily impress enough to earn the spot.

All of these proceedings have one question begging to be asked: What about Jon Singleton? The long-time No. 1 first base prospect in Major League Baseball did not get promoted, despite him already being on the 40-man roster. Duffy leapfrogged him.

Singleton has not had an awful year in the PCL, but it is still nowhere near what the Houston Astros want to see. That is, unless they are sticking to their ‘boom or bust’ philosophy. Singleton had 2 more home runs than Duffy but 20 less RBIs, 9 more strikeouts in over 100 less at bats and a .254 average. Just 23 years of age, Singleton has time to turn it around but the longer it takes, the more time that guys like Matt Duffy have time to sneak ahead of him. Maybe next time it will be A.J. Reed.

Matt Duffy has a real opportunity here to join a playoff contending team for the long run. It is up to him to take it.

Next: Gomez finally settling in in Houston

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