Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 10/9/13
HistoryOwners may be smiling in 2014 if they pick up Singleton for a 2nd-half surge.Jonathan Singleton was an 8th round pick of the Philadelphia Phillies back in 2009. In 2011, he was traded to Houston along with Jarred Cosart and 2 other prospects for outfielder Hunter Pence. In 2013, he was then suspended for 50 games after his second failed drug test for Marijuana (you’d think he would stop smoking pot).For most of his professional career, he’s been in the 30-50 range on most prospect lists and I’m sure his suspension probably dragged him down a few spots this past season. He reached as high as Triple-A this season and has yet to make his Major League debut.ToolsSingleton has been a very patient hitter throughout the minor leagues, with his best tool being his excellent batting eye. Until last season, his lowest OBP at any level was .387. Singleton does have a bit of a strikeout issue, but that shouldn’t prohibit him from hitting in the .280 range when he reaches MLB because of his great bat speed and patience at the plate. He doesn’t have as much power as you’d think from a 1B-type, and might struggle to slug .500 over a full season.Singleton’s bat profiles better for the 2-hole in a lineup, rather than the heart of the order where most casual fans perceive him ending up. He is an average fielder who earlier in his career failed a potential position switch when the Astros unsuccessfully tried him in left field. Singleton should be able to play 1B full time and not be forced to DH. He is not a threat, however, on the basepaths.2014 OutlookLucky for Singleton, the Astros don’t have much at the 1B/DH positions, so that opens up plenty of playing time for Singleton in 2014. The Astros know they won’t be in contention next year, so I find it highly unlikely Singleton wins a job out of spring training. Singleton also struggled a bit (.687 OPS) in his return from the suspension, so the team might want to see some adjustments made before giving him the call. Assuming he makes those necessary adjustments and hits Triple-A pitching, he should be up sometime after the Super Two deadline passes. I do not think he’ll be one of the first guys up after the deadline, but he could be a solid second-half contributor.As for actual numbers from his rookie season I would expect a decent average with a good OBP. I could easily see a .350 OBP from the moment he is called up. The power expectations need to be curtailed though. Given 250 AB, I might expect only 8-10 HR, and considering the Astros lineup, there won’t be many RBI chances either. He looks to have value in deeper mixed or AL only leagues. He should not be considered a draft day target for any non-keeper leagues.FutureWhile it seems like I’ve been ragging on Singleton for a while, I am excited for his future. When the Astros finally figure out their mess of a team, Singleton looks to be one of their main cogs. I can see Joey Votto-type stats in a sense where he puts up a good average with great OBP’s while providing modest power.He looks to be a useful fantasy asset in the future, but as we know, OBP guys only have value if other guys on the team are competent enough to drive them in. For example, Votto has Jay Bruce. As of today, Jonathon Singleton has Brandon Barnes and Jason Castro. As for Singleton’s power potential, I don’t doubt he could top out at 30 HR, but I am much more comfortable penciling him in for 20-25 a season.
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