Singleton, who came to Houston from Philadelphia as one of four players obtained in the Hunter Pence trade at the non-waiver trade deadline in 2011, missed the first 50 games of the season thanks to a suspension for testing positive for a drug of abuse and the Astros have elected to ease him back into action. He began his campaign with a six game stint at Class-A Quad Cities where the hulking left-handed slugger slammed a trio of home runs in just 21 at bats.
With the easy success he showed in the Mid West League, Houston bumped Singleton up to Double-A Corpus Christi where he joined George Springer to present the most formidable duo in the Texas League. Though he got off to a slower start with the Hooks (.379 slugging percentage through his first eight games), Singleton served notice on Thursday that he doesn’t plan to stay long.
Singleton was perfect at the plate as Corpus Christi bested Frisco by a 7-1 score. He homered twice in a three-for-three day that also included a pair of walks. It was the kind of game that showed off the best of what Singleton offers as a hitter. Not only does he show off good power, but this is a guy who drew a walk in nearly 16 percent of his 555 plate appearances last season.
Though he won’t turn 22 years old until after the minor league campaign draws to a close in September, Singleton could yet factor into the plans for the Astros this year. At very worst, he’ll be moving up to Triple-A sooner rather than later.
If Singleton can meet the challenges he’s encountered off the field (his suspension resulted from a second violation of the anti-drug policy), there is no reason to think he won’t have a tremendously productive big league career. Of course, drug use has derailed the careers of more than a few promising players and the Astros will be keeping a close eye on him. So far, the time away from the field hasn’t hampered his ability to hit.
Houston has all but given up on Brett Wallace as an option at first base and Carlos Pena is only in town on a one-year deal. The Astros would like nothing better than to have Singleton ready to take everyday at bats as their first baseman as early as next April. In order to get there, however, Singleton will have to show that his maturity off-the-field matches his maturity at the plate.