Fangraphs' Jeff Sullivan posted yesterday with a piece entitled Jon Singleton's Understandable Leap following the news broke of Singleton's promotion and long contract extension. You should click it at least for the cool pictures from MLB Farm and Sullivan's own tables.
As Astros fans know now, following a month of George Springer, expectations can not be set too high, too early. Even Springer, who took time to adjust to MLB pitching, hit the ball with amazing success more quickly than most prospects do.
But, with that being said, Sullivan makes a very obvious point to begin his piece
For the Astros, Jon Singleton can be bad, and better than what the team has been running out there. To date, Astros first basemen have combined to be worth -1.0 WAR, worst in baseball by most of a win.
Well, at least we hope he isn't as bad as it has been.
Sullivan then lightly touches on Singleton's marijuana problem and also later discusses the drinking last year briefly. But for the sake of this post, let's look at Sullivan's talk about Singleton's on-field performance.
First point: Singleton has been much better against lefties. Sullivan's table points out that Singleton has a career-high .383 wOBA vs. southpaws this season. To further illustrate that point, the left-handed hitting Singleton is slashing .309/.390/.529 with four home runs and three doubles in 68 at-bats. Yes, please!
Sullivan's second piece of information isn't as much persuasion for or against Singleton's promotion, but certainly is interesting. Singleton is pulling the ball and hitting it in the air much more than any other time in his career. And as a result, he was on-pace to obliterate his MiLB career-high 21 home runs at AA Corpus Christi in 2012.
Alert: Moving on from Sullivan's points to my own. Singleton's .240 batting average in the month of May could make the timing of the promotion somewhat head scratching. But the key to showing that Singleton is ready is the fact that although his batting average dropped from .293 in April to .240 in May, Singleton's on-base percentage stayed almost exactly the same - 398 to .397.
Furthermore, Singleton walked 18 times and struck out 31 times in April. In May, it became 24 walks and and 21 Ks. He's making adjustments and was likely not seeing many good pitches after slugging .636 in April.
He will, however, see a lot of pitches as a part of what is becoming a solid Houston lineup. At the very least, he will be on base a lot no matter how much he struggles to drive the ball. That can't be said for the Guzman/Krauss platoon.
Houston had a winning month of May and just made its team better. That's exciting.