So, I reached into the mailbag and what did I find? JUST ONE QUESTION! Drop some questions!
This weeks question comes from linkxmalon:
Does Singleton have anything else to prove in the minors outside of the inevitable consistency question? (I’m not advocating him being called up quickly, just referring to the principle of the idea)
Scouting isn't an easy job, hence my decision to go the easy route to grad school. Not really, I didn't have that kind of opportunity. But seriously, it's very difficult for several reasons, including trying to find talent.
Easy scouting (relatively) is seeing a player do something ridiculous and think "Well, if we can get him to do that consistently, he'd be really good." The hard part is seeing a high school kid and determining if he can hit in pros or develop power.
Singleton is, and has been for awhile, the easy version of scouting. On any given night, you could see him do something truly spectacular at the plate. You still can. Right now it is more to the affect of every single night though.
That is really what the minor leagues are all about. Development. One of the major aspects of development is turning those flashes into more than flashes. Making them consistent.
Long story short: Yes, consistency is something he has to work on. Especially considering the season he had last year. And so far, I've taking the cop out answer, so I'll try to do you one better.
Yes, I think there is something he needs to improve on. Contact.
Singleton draws a lot of walks so I won't fault him and say he needs to work on his approach. Every hitter needs to always be working on their approach and making adjustments in how pitchers are attacking him. But, I think in general, he has that down fairly well.
The issue is that he still strikes out a lot. The sample size isn't quite large enough yet for strong conclusions, but it's getting there. His strikeout rate is better than last year, but still higher than his career numbers and his AA numbers. The reason for that is that he is whiffing a lot. That is why I say contact.
Like stats? Well I got 'em!
From the first row, you can see that Singleton makes less contact per swing than the league average in the Pacific Coast League. A league filled with "Quad-A" players and prospects. Not a ringing endorsement.
Oswng% is the amount of swings he takes at balls outsize of the zone. Remember this is based off of stringer data which is inputed by a guy sitting in the stands behind home plate and clicks on a digital strike zone plot where he saw the ball come in at on his laptop. Not exactly the most accurate system in the world. Either way, Singleton does pretty good in this area.
Ocon% is contact with balls outside of the zone. He doesn't do very well with this and is probably due to the likelihood of seeing off speed pitches outside the zone.
Zswng% is contact on pitches in the zone. Just a little over league average. The thing here is swinging in the zone is not always good, depending on count. If you're ahead of the count and it's early in the count, you don't want to swing at a breaking ball down and away. You're just not likely to do much with it. Unfortunately, we can't break this down much more.
Zcon% is contact with pitching swung at within the zone. Something you want to be good at. Singleton is well below average.
Singleton is below league average in contact measurements, both out and within the strike zone. Ideally, you want to limit swings outside of the zone and contact is not always desirable. I don't have the stats to back it up, but I would assume babip is not very good for hits on balls outside the zone. Although, a foul ball with 2-strikes is better than a whiff. But, within the zone, I would say he needs to improve some.
I will say, he doesn't need dramatic changes. Minor improvements really. My personal opinion is that if he's not ready yet, he should be by the summer. However, I wouldn't feel overly comfortable saying one way or the other without seeing him in person.