Jonathan Singleton is one who doesn’t really need an introduction in this neck of the woods but I’m going to give him one anyways. Singleton was co-centerpiece in the Hunter pence trade along with pitching prospect Jarred Cosart and so far he has shown why the Astros had him on their radar since the Roy Oswalt trade. He was listed as the Astros top prospect heading into the season and has only raised his stock by turning in an impressive season for the Corpus Christi Hooks. He was rewarded for his play this year with a trip to the 14th annual Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game, and performed well on the big stage by going 3-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Singleton’s slash line for the season was an impressive .283/.394/.490 with an on-base plus slugging percentage of .884, and an isolated power of .207 in the Texas League. He was above average in almost every offensive category this season, and the only thing that he was really below league average in was his strikeout rate. Singleton struck out 23.80% which falls in the below average range, but he was able to counter that with a walk rate of 15.60% which is well above average. His combination of power potential coupled with solid plate discipline is something that Astros fans can dream on with an eye towards the future.
Speaking of power, that was one of the few question marks about Singleton’s game heading into the 2012 season. Scouts raved about his swing and power potential but up to that point it hadn’t necessarily translated into on-field production. This year Singleton showed off a little of that power and slugged 21 homeruns, 27 doubles, and 4 triples. Another thing that’s worth mentioning is that they say that the Hooks home ballpark Whataburger Field is suppresses the power of left-handed hitters as the wind blows in from the gulf. I mention this because only 16 of his 21 homeruns came at home this year which speaks well of Singleton’s power potential. He has the potential to produce some big numbers for the Redhawks next season in the PCL.
The biggest area where Singleton struggled this season was against southpaws. His slash line dropped from .302/.423/.518 with a .941 OPS against righties to a .232/.307/.416 with a .723 OPS against left-handed pitching. Only 3 of his 21 homeruns came against left-handed pitching this year. Hopefully that’s one area that he can work on improving this offseason and in Oklahoma City next year.
Defensively not a lot has changed as he’s still pretty confined to first base. He did start a total of 19 games in left field for the Hooks and committed an error in 21 chances. At first base this season he committed 12 errors which amounted to a .988 fielding percentage. Overall he should be an average defensive first baseman, but since he is limited to that position most of his value will be tied to his bat. This means that his floor may still be a little low in the event that his offensive success doesn’t translate in the majors for whatever reason.
There’s no doubt that Jonathan Singleton had a very impressive 2012 campaign for the Corpus Christi Hooks and hopefully he can raise his stock a little more with a good showing in the Arizona Fall League this year. He was very young relative to league this season and has a promising future. Hopefully his power can continue to develop and he can improve his production against left-handed pitching. If so the Astros may have found their next big star to hold down first base for years to come.