It’s just time! Time for the Jonathan Singleton Experiment to end. Long live The Experiment. And, the Hunter Pence trade.
Perhaps he was over-heralded all along, but the Astros have been calling Singleton the future at first base since he came over with Jarred Cosart and Domingo Santana in the Pence trade back in 2011. As much as he was declared the next great hitter, Singleton has hit only .274 in the minors with decent power, but as many strikeouts as hits.
Now, with the Astros positioned to contend for the first time in over a decade, Houston is searching for that stability at the right-side corner. Frankly, whoever starts the season there may not be the same player who ends the season there.
Nonetheless, the organization owes it to the team to pencil in someone who has a chance to help the club out of the gate.
Unfortunately, Jonathan Singleton is not that guy.
At 24, Singleton is still likely to have some marketability for another team, though a team may not bite this late in spring training, especially on a trade of substance.
The Astros do have options, though keeping Singleton in the organization has its potential plusses and minuses. Regardless who gets the nod on opening day (Tyler White seems the logical choice at this point), Singleton should begin the season in one of three places: Corpus Christi, Fresno or in another organization.
Not in Houston.
So what happened with Singleton? He was tabbed by virtually every writer, prognosticator, predictor and scout to make it big in the big time. Everyone missed. At least up to now.
Sometimes, players just miss. Enter Brett Wallace, another top prospect, first round pick who faired no better in the majors. He had multiple chances and is finally making the most of it with the Padres…at age 29.
Of course, Singleton had that drug issue and hasn’t looked like the same prospect since returning. And then there’s the approach to the game, or at least the perception that he comes to spring training with a lackadaisical attitude.
Then, it’s possible he’s the late bloomer. Phil Nevin and Wallace (still to be determined) along with others have taken years to develop and hit their stride.
And, then, it’s possible Singleton will never get there.
Regardless, the 2016 experiment should end, affording the Astros, manager A.J. Hinch, White and others to prep for a strong start out of the gate.
What say you?