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First Springer, now Singleton as Astros follow player-of-month flavor


Whether or not Jon Singleton becomes a major league star, both the Astros and the player have made history and laid the framework to avoid that 2019-2020 bottleneck.

Did the Astros hold the promotion over his head to get him to sign the potential eight-year, $35 million deal? Who knows? Who cares? We’ll find out if they did, but at this point, it really doesn’t matter.

Singleton will be at first base in an Astros’ uniform and will add to a lineup that continues to morph and transform right in front of our very eyes.

As I suggested a few weeks ago, the Astros could improve throughout the season by adding just one prospect or veteran each month of the season. In April, Houston added George Springer and Collin McHugh. The team added Tony Sipp and Kyle Farnsworth in May. Now, as June dawns, Singleton solidifies a first base position that has plagued the organization since Lance Berkman left in 2010.

Singleton’s first five years are guaranteed at $10 million. For the rest of the deal, he’ll have to earn his keep. What a concept! Somewhere along year six or seven, if he’s worth his salt, pressure will likely come to bear to negotiate an extension.

With the addition of Singleton, the Astros’ infield now averages just over 23 years of age. Matt Dominguez is the old man, turning 25 later in the season.

If manager Bo Porter continues his pledge to “…protect them (young guys) from themselves”, expect to see Singleton in the six hole come Tuesday. Eventually, though, it makes absolute sense to see this lineup:

One other thought: With the addition of Singleton and Springer and other position apparently “locked up” for the foreseeable future, the Astros are beginning to create blocks. When’s the last time a minor league player in the Houston organization was blocked?

Effectively now, a catcher, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman and two outfield spots are firm for the Astros. Houston sent down a hot pitcher just this week. If and when the Astros add Jesse Crain, Matt Albers, Asher Wojciechowski, Alex White, Michael Foltynewicz, Domingo Santana or Austin Wates, the blocks may become the big issue on Jeff Luhnow’s plate.

There are several questions that remain:

  • Where do you believe he should hit in the order?
  • Who’s the next promotion-of-the-month?
  • Who’s the next player Houston should lock up?
  • Can this team meet Jim Crane’s .500 expectation in 2014?
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About Chip Bailey

Chip Bailey lives in Colorado Springs, CO, and is an author and former sports editor and sportswriter who has followed the Astros for more than 40 years. A native of Natchitoches, La., Chip enjoys watching baseball at most any level, especially pro and college. Several years ago, he worked as an associate of Pastor John Bosman, who enjoyed giving nick names to his staff. He came up with Chipalatta, and it’s stuck.

58 comments on “First Springer, now Singleton as Astros follow player-of-month flavor

  1. BrianT
    June 3, 2014

    Singleton should hit sixth for a few weeks then move up to fourth or fifth.

    Next up: Santana at DH. Or Foltynewicz as a starter.

    The Astros should lock up a pitcher. Just not sure who that is.

    Not .500 for the season , but maybe. .500 for the remainder.

    Like

    • daveb
      June 3, 2014

      Brian, I’d hate to see a 21 year old guy in Santana get handcuffed as a DH. I’ve seen him play right. Not a Springer out there, but he moves very well for a big man and has a gun. My DH? Castro. And then bring up Stassi to catch. That makes us better defensively too.

      Like

      • BrianT
        June 3, 2014

        I think eventually we could see that. But we need a DH right now before we need to replace our all star catcher. Castro can and should still come around. And I’m not convinced Stassi is ready right now. Santana is.

        Like

  2. Dan P
    June 3, 2014

    – I would like to see him hit 5th or 6th early on and eventually cleanup. I wonder if he is going to be platooned with Carter – sitting against leftys.
    – I think they need to pull up a third OF. Santana is already on the 40 man but if they think he is too young – bring up Wates. (maybe the answer is the next guy who agrees to a long term contract?)
    – Next guy to lock up might be a pitcher like Keuchel or Cosart.
    – Let’s face facts this team is extremely young and will likely not make .500 in 2014. But I think have a shot at what Brian is talking about .500 for the rest of the season.
    – I am not sure if this is true – but on the radio they speculated that Singleton was motivated to sign because in the minors they random test for marijuana while at MLB they test for cause for pot. So as long as Singleton isn ‘t seen at the Jack in the Box at 2 in the morning….

    Like

    • Devin
      June 3, 2014

      One thing I miss, living on the East coast, is Jack-N-the-Box. I don’t think you need to necessarily have obtained the munchies from a chemical influence to crave those tacos at 2:00am.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dan P
        June 3, 2014

        Yes even though it is not clear what that meat paste is in the tacos…..

        Like

      • BrianT
        June 3, 2014

        I miss Jack in the Box.

        Like

  3. daveb
    June 3, 2014

    Did the Astros hold the promotion over his head too get him to siign the deal? I sure care. I hope that’s not the case. That’s not the way to do business. If a few years into the deal he is producing 25/100, then we’ll end up with an ugly hold out situation.

    Like

    • Chip Bailey
      June 3, 2014

      daveb, of course, we care about the possible “holding it over his head” scenario. I meant, at this point, there’s nothing to suggest that it happened that way (other than crowded, dark smoky room, conspiracy-type theories). If there’s fire later that develops from the smoke, then we’ll talk. Until then, let’s enjoy the eventualities and hope that May “sprint” begins to turn into more of a marathon run.

      Like

  4. daveb
    June 3, 2014

    By the way, anyone feeling like maybe the Feldman signing was not such a great idea at this point? Is he going to end up in the way of our young guys? Is his present performance correcting towards his career stats? If so, we’re going to have a slow tossing guy with a mid 4 ERA and a contract that will make unloading him difficult. Oberholtzer might be feeling that Feldman is in the way right now. Maybe Foltynewicz too.

    I hope Villar starts to hit a bit. I like what he’s done on the field so far. He gets to balls that most guys don’t. But I think we’ll see more and more of slow Marwin.

    Like

  5. Astro45
    June 3, 2014

    Not that Yahoo sports is always reliable, but here is a quote from their story.
    “install him as their everyday first baseman after more than a month of negotiations ended in a deal sure to arouse discussion around the sport.” So it would appear he was leveraged.

    Like

    • daveb
      June 3, 2014

      That’s the basis of my concern 45′. Are we turning into an organization where it’s all business all the time? Hardball on and off the field? If that’s the case, it’ll bite back in the long run. The best organizations, regardless of the business, are very focused on human relations. It’s a simple concept. Take care of your people, treat them well, and you’ll get loyalty in return.

      Like

  6. Tim
    June 3, 2014

    Here is my July 1, 2015 starting lineup and rotation:
    Singelton-1B, Altuve-2B, Correa-SS, Dominguez-3B, Castro/Stassi-C, Fowler-LF, Springer-CF, Santana-RF, TBD (Free Agent signing)-DH, Feldman-SP, Foltynewicz-SP, Keuchel-SP, Tropeano-SP, Cosart-SP. I wouldn’t be surprised to see either Folty or Cosart moved to the bullpen as a late inning reliever if Appel or Wojo are ready for the majors. Thoughts?

    Like

    • BrianT
      June 3, 2014

      I’d put Wates in there somewhere. Maybe DH or outfield and Santana DHs. But yep, I like this a lot.

      Like

    • daveb
      June 3, 2014

      I’m guessing Fowler will be gone Tim, but Wates might be in left, or maybe even a guy like Tucker. Regardless, Fowler should be worth something next year, and we’ll have ready replacements. I’d hate to think of Feldman still in there a year from now. Especially since we’ve got a batch of starters getting close at both AA and AAA. Wojoski might be in the mix right now had he not gotten injured early. Somehow I think Castro will be gone by mid next year too.

      Like

  7. kevin
    June 3, 2014

    Good post Chip. First i guess I’m old school, but Singleton at 23 just made 10 Mill guaranteed, not a bad start to his young life. He will either do well and make a lot more as an Astro, and if not he can still be a valuable trade chip at that $$$, seems smart to me. Hit him 6th let him get his feet under him. If Grossman is still struggling in another 30 days, next man up. Feldman if we keep him for the 3 years will be our Number 5. I think somewhere before the trade deadline Lunhow will move some pieces, there is becoming quite a log jam , on the farm, What a great problem to finally have.

    Like

  8. Devin
    June 3, 2014

    As I said last night, I would put him right behind Dominguez at #5 for a few weeks. I don’t want him too far in the lineup from Springer and Fowler. It will be difficult to drive in runs if Dominguez AND Castro are the only guys on base in front of him.

    Like

  9. 1oldpro
    June 3, 2014

    I would like Singleton to hit cleanup behind Springer, but I’m not sure if they will do that.
    The next promotion should probably be Wates because he is 25. But is he healthy? He has had injury problems for three years now. I think they need to see him in the majors and see what they have. At his age, they need to display his talent and see if he has value at this level. He is a high average, low strikeout, low power guy so far. But there is the Crawford Boxes to consider for him, if he can find some Matt Downs type power.
    The pitcher we have not talked any about is Tropeano. The tandem has really hidden this guy and he was finally allowed to go 8 innings last night. He has not had a bad outing this year and has lost some tough games but his whip is below 1 for the season.
    The next guy they should lock up is Springer and somehow they need to find a way to turn him loose on the bases. He is used to hitting and running ahead of Singleton, that it would be nice to get those two settled into the lineup where they have so often been super together.
    The Astros could fulfill Crane’s dream for .500 if they did not have four guys in the lineup hitting .200 or below and if Crain and Albers deliver the goods! Lets hope that Singleton can hit his weight and provide the pop and defense he usually produces. Then we are down to fixing DH, SS, LF and Catcher, the last four Mendoza positions. The simple solution at catcher is for Castro to start hitting.
    Preston Tucker actually played the entire game at 1B for CC last night. I will try to cut him a little slack, batting average-wise, while he learns to fit in defensively there. Congratulations to the Astros for this move.

    Like

    • daveb
      June 3, 2014

      You’re right about Tropeano oldpro. He’s another of the batch of guys that might make Feldman irrelevant.

      Like

  10. 1oldpro
    June 3, 2014

    The starting 3B last night For Lancaster was Jack Mayfield, who was the starting SS at Quad Cities all season, except when hurt.. I guess Lindauer will be the QC SS. I wonder if Mayfield is just getting a taste at Lancaster or if someone is fixing to get moved up to CC and maybe Mayfield will be their replacement. Oh, I’m just sayin’!!!!

    Like

    • Devin
      June 3, 2014

      Its tough to speculate with accuracy what the promotions really mean this close to the draft.

      Like

    • Chip Bailey
      June 3, 2014

      oldpro, it’s funny to see the juggling and all the speculation. Recently, when they’d sit Singleton for a day, people would rush to check the next flight from OKC to Houston. It just goes to prove the eagerness and vaccuum that’s been created for die hard fans!

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        June 3, 2014

        I have noticed that it is not when a guy is necessarily missing from the minor league lineup, but when the Astros have a day off that really matters!

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        June 3, 2014

        The Correa deal is a little harder to figure. Lancaster has a two game lead with ten games to go in the first half. If they finish in first place they automatically qualify for the playoffs. I know they want that clincher so Carlos may be staying for that. But Corpus has that big game in the next couple of weeks, too and they might want him settled in for that.
        Or they just might want Carlos to follow the Springer/Tucker Lancaster plan of 500 PA’s, which would get him to Corpus sometime in July. But Again, Springer/ Tucker were college guys and Correa may not follow that particular pattern.
        Who Knows? Luh-Know Knows.

        Like

  11. Dan P
    June 3, 2014

    We know the Astros had a little more leverage working out a deal with a Singleton than with Springer. He knows they are taking on some risk with a guy who describes himself as a pot addict – even though that is supposedly impossible. Singleton could have performance issues. He could get tested and suspended for a lot longer than the 50 games he sat out last season. So this deal may make more sense. But you do risk disgruntlement 4 or 5 yrs in….

    Like

    • Devin
      June 3, 2014

      Would you rather make $10 million over your first five seasons, or get $450k, $450k, $450k, $2 million, $3.5 million?

      This is a good deal upfront for Singleton. If he performs really well he ends up leaving, probably, about $10 million on the table. However, at that stage as a first baseman he will stand to recoup it easily enough through free agency as a 30 year old. If he doesn’t perform, well, then he obviously made out better this way.

      Like

  12. BrianT
    June 3, 2014

    All I know is the national media has finally said some good things about the Astros.

    https://www.yahoo.com/sports/blogs/nbc-yahoo-sports/how-will-jon-singleton-fit-into-the-houston-astros-lineup-144448953.html

    Like

  13. 1oldpro
    June 3, 2014

    If the notion is that negotiations with Singleton actually dragged on for a month, then that would explain his falling batting average. I’m just a fan and the very idea of them turning the screws for a month gets me pissed. I can imagine how he felt.
    In the meantime, our first basemen just sucked and it affected our team’s record.
    Perhaps the Astros are going to put the pressure on every top 20 prospect to sign a club-friendly deal before they make it up.

    Like

    • Chip Bailey
      June 3, 2014

      I think it’s a stretch and speculation to assume that the month of negotiations actually affected his stats. As some have previously noted, his average started to drop after Springer was promoted, perhaps losing some “protection”. Honestly — and this isn’t a defense of the Astros — we don’t know that the negotiations were in fact tied to Singleton remaining in OKC. Yes, you can assume or even deduce that, but it’s not part of the record. Singleton got a good deal for himself, but it’s also good for the team. Sure, he could leave some money on the table if the entire deal plays out, but it puts him in pretty good territory as well.

      I wouldn’t automatically construe that the Astros “turned the screws” for a month. This is a deal without precedent, so it makes some sense it might take longer than traditional deals.

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        June 3, 2014

        I agree with you and that is why I started my post with the word “if”.

        Like

  14. Becky
    June 3, 2014

    This team has been starved for first baseman since Berkman was traded, so I view this as a very good replacement for him. I don’t care if Marwin Gonzalez is slow or not, he usually get’s a hit when he’s playing instead of Villar, and *RARELY* commits an error. Luhnow needs to start a monthly infusion of talent from OKC
    and let us see for ourselves who will or won’t be able to swim with the sharks.
    I bet (remember I’m a gambler!!) Singelton will bat in the 6 hole for a few games, until he get’s comfortable at the plate……..then “Katie bar the door” ’cause if he hits behind Springer, the other teams are going to have a problem on their hands!
    And…..I can’t WAIT to see that!

    Like

  15. daveb
    June 3, 2014

    I’d send Marwin out to short until he quits hitting. He gives up a lot in the range department, and as evidenced when he got thrown out at second (by a week) after hitting a ball off the left field wall, he might be slower than Wallace was. All that said though, Villar has been terrible at the plate after a promising start.

    Like

  16. kevin
    June 3, 2014

    Is it just me or does someone from the Astros need to text Bud mediocre -underachieving Norris, and tell him to shut his Pie Hole and worry about his own career.

    Like

    • Mr. Bill
      June 3, 2014

      Anybody and everybody who frets and expresses a negative opinion about someone else’s wages has a real, serious ‘control freak’ problem. What business is it possibly of Bud Norris’ or anybody else besides the parties to the contract – namely Jon Singleton, his agent, and the Astros’ ownership.

      Like

    • BrianT
      June 3, 2014

      Yep.

      Like

  17. 1oldpro
    June 3, 2014

    Maybe Bud Norris would like to pitch in with $10 million and Crane would be willing to listen. I wonder if the O’s like Bud chiming in on another team’s business.
    Again, it’s a shame we don’t get to see pitchers wander up to the plate. I would like to see a fastball bouncing off that fat butt.

    Like

  18. Chip Bailey
    June 3, 2014

    Singleton in the six hole tonight. Interesting lineup: Fowler, Altuve, Springer, Castro, Dominguez, Singleton, Carter, Grossman, Villar.

    Like

    • Dan P
      June 3, 2014

      Yes it is interesting that they move Fowler back to the top of the lineup the first game that Singleton is up.
      OK – I am having more and more reasons to tune in and watch some ABs…..

      Like

  19. rj
    June 3, 2014

    not a bad lineup. ill like it even more when santana takes grossmans spot and correa takes villars. santana could happen this year. correa next year maybe.

    Like

  20. Becky
    June 3, 2014

    Nights like THIS is when I really miss not being able seeing this team 😦 :(…….*sigh*.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Becky
    June 3, 2014

    Springer won the AL rookie of the month……clap, clap, clap, clap!!!!

    Like

    • BrianT
      June 3, 2014

      I’m thrilled for Springer. But as I was looking up stats, I noticed something that’s a bit off topic:

      Altuve is about eight months younger than Springer, yet he will collect his 500th hit sometime this month.

      I think this speaks to the quality of the young players we have. And some–Altuve, Keuchel–are starting to become experienced veterans.

      Like

      • daveb
        June 3, 2014

        Altuve is a lock for the 3000 hit club.

        Like

  22. Becky
    June 3, 2014

    Brian……….the first thing Springer did when they told him about the award, was go hug Altuve and tell him thank you. If not for Altuve setting the table for him, he might not have gotten the award! THAT speaks VOLUMES to me about Springer’s character!

    Like

    • BrianT
      June 3, 2014

      That’s way cool.

      Like

  23. Becky
    June 3, 2014

    WOOOOOO HOOOOOO!! I’ll take a 5 to 0 lead!! Good job boys!!

    Like

    • Devin
      June 3, 2014

      Knocking CJ Wilson out early is very satisfying too

      Like

  24. Steeeve
    June 3, 2014

    Off topic but, If you missed it, former Astros outfielder Jason Lane was just called up by the San Diego Padres as a relief pitcher. He pitched last year for the Sugar Land Skeeters. Great, great story.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      June 3, 2014

      Also, Jose Veras DFA’d by the Cubs and Wade LeBlanc picked up by the Yanks.

      Like

  25. BrianT
    June 3, 2014

    BOOM! Singleton goes yard!

    And Carter fears for his job and follows.

    Like

    • Devin
      June 3, 2014

      Which bumped Carter up to .200!

      Like

  26. Dan P
    June 3, 2014

    Flavor of the month launched one.

    Like

  27. Becky
    June 4, 2014

    Well now, THAT was fun!!! When I heard him hit it, I knew it was a homer….because it was hit so HARD! I remember Springer’s first few games, and he had errors, so as long as the errors didn’t score anyone…..Singelton’s HR made up for it! Like I said earlier…..this is going to be fun to watch! Kudos for Jason Lane…..he was a big part of the 2005 WS games for Houston. It’s neat that he could reinvent himself at 37 yrs. old!

    Like

    • Sandy
      June 4, 2014

      It sure would be fun IF I could watch it.

      Like

      • Becky
        June 4, 2014

        Me too Sandy……

        Like

  28. Devin
    June 4, 2014

    There is a good read up on the Astros minor league development plan at us a today:
    A http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2014/06/03/houston-astros-build-plate-discipline-from-the-ground-up/9934613/

    Just a comment on why Springer should have been in the opening day lineup and Singleton got here, at minimum, a month too late: It’s amazing how much one player can change the game. We focus on stats like WAR and discount the eyeball test, but just the energy and optimism brought by those two players changes the perception of the team by both the team and outsiders. We’re getting National press and first segment highlight packages! Becky and Sandy WANT to watch the games with anticipation!

    Like

    • Dan P
      June 4, 2014

      Thanks Devin very interesting read.

      Like

  29. rj
    June 4, 2014

    wow. interesting story. thanks for the link devin.

    Like

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