Where is Jonathan Singleton's Power?

Right where it needs to be!

That's the short answer, but you didn't expect me to give you a short answer to that question did you? I've seen a little bit of talk about Jonathan Singleton's power production so far this season on twitter and even a little here on TCB. Wasn't so much his overall power production, but his home run total. As of last night, Singleton now has four home runs this season, the same number that Josh Hamilton hit last night.

So, what gives with this big and powerful 1B prospect that is supposed to be the anchor of the batting order for years to come? Four home runs isn't impressive. Lots of guys have that many home runs. That doesn't sound like a prospect that is going to be the big bruiser from the left side that is supposed to a Top 50 prospect in baseball. Why should I get excited about that bat? I had to lose Hunter Pence for this guy?

Well, follow me after the jump, and I'll break it down for you.

You've seen many of us use ISO (Isolated Power) as the primary statistic to indicate power production before, and typically is the first thing I go to when I'm trying to break down a hitter who is supposed to have power. Remember, that there has been some discussion about not enough home runs or power this season from Singleton. So, imagine my surprise when I look to see an ISO of .240! His previous high was a .188 in his season at Lakewood when he first burst onto the scene as a legitimate prospect. That's also higher than his power surge after the trade when he joined the Lancaster team and posted a .179.

How is he posting such a high ISO with a lower than expected HR rate for a guy like him? That is basically from two triples which are rather uncharacteristic for a guy his size and spraying eight doubles in the outfield. Those are the reasons for his elevated ISO. But, why is that something to get excited about. You can find guys that will spray doubles all over the place at other positions. Why should I get excited about a 1B that does it.

Have you honestly looked at this kid? He's 6-2 and weighs 215 and he's not even 21 yet. We're talking about a guy that will probably put on an additional 10-20 pounds of solid muscle by the time he's 25. It's for this reason that you don't really see power numbers to start and develop until after the age of 21. He has the body that oozes the potential to add more good solid mass. Who cares if that weight might slow him down, he plays 1B. Plus, he's athletic enough to still be able to move well if he adds lean mass, not all fat.

As for his swing, he's hitting 20% line drives and just 41% are groundballs. As for flyballs, less than 7% of his balls in play are infield flyballs. That leaves about 32% of his remaining balls in play are outfield flyballs. Those are nice percentages for power hitter as it shows he makes solid contact and those balls are only going to further as he puts on muscle. Those line drive doubles that he's sprayed around will begin to be line drive home runs to the gaps every now and then. That has to be one of the exciting parts of his game, some of his home runs have been classified as line drive home runs that get out in a hurry.

Those numbers lead to his elevated BABIP. It's currently .380 which is obviously high, but not that much over previous numbers. His Lakewood number was .330 and his time in Clearwater was .355. His short stay in Lancaster was a ridiculous .459. His high LD% will help him maintain a high BABIP, so I don't expect a huge regression. But, you will probably see him come down to earth some.

Another factor to consider here is that he's a lefty playing in Whataburger Field which is known to suppress home run power for lefties as the wind blows in from right field or blows across the outfield from right to left which will push balls to the deeper parts of CF. It's hard to get around and pull a ball to right if the wind is just going to push it to right center. But, Singleton doesn't seem to care, he's hit one of his home runs to left center and one was a flyball to right field. He is that strong. He can hit it to any field and will not have trouble pushing a few bombs to the Crawford Boxes in a few years.

In closing, the power is real and look for those numbers to go up in the coming years. Look at his overall power numbers and how he's hitting the ball to get a better look at how he'll develop, not just his home run total. After all, he makes lots of contact and draws plenty of walks. That 21% strikeout rate is definitely tolerable with what he should be able to bring, and will actually probably improve moving forward.

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