Jesus Guzman is batting .203. Marc Krauss‘ average so far in 2014 is .190 while Chris Carter is hitting a robust .187. A month and a half into the season, these numbers are disgusting. We have seen enough.
On the contrary, Jon Singleton is raking in AAA. So far this season in 38 games the first baseman is hitting .293 with 12 home runs and 34 RBI’s. To say the Astros could use that production at the major league level would be an understatement.
So then, where is Singleton and why is he not in Houston yet?
George Springer was promoted a few weeks ago and in 25 games he has brought his average up to .232. But Springer cannot do it alone. And I think there is enough of a sample size to ascertain that the current collection of Astros’ first baseman is not getting it done. They are not providing Springer with the lineup projection he needs to truly be successful.
On the other hand, Singleton can. Or at least continue to get the needle moving in the right direction.
At this point, I think we can guarantee that we will be seeing Singleton in Houston by the All-Star break at the latest. Quite simply, Singleton is running out of things to prove to Jeff Luhnow prior to his promotion, which as Luhnow says could be happening “anytime”.
“He’s impressing everybody with his ability to handle pitchers from both sides,” Luhnow said of the lefthanded-hitting Singleton. “That’s an important piece for us. He’s got a lot of self confidence right now, and he’s becoming a complete player. That’s really what gets me excited about him.”
To say that Singleton needed a start to 2014 like this would be an understatement. After a 50-game suspension to start last season followed by his struggles, the first baseman needed to come out of the gates swinging this season. And he certainly has.
Aside from being more comfortable at the plate and regaining his confidence which Luhnow spoke about, the big thing here for Singleton is his strikeouts. Or lack thereof compared to 2013 where the first baseman struck out about 30% of the time. So far this season Singleton has brought that back down to 22% which is more in line with his career norms.
Based on his track record, excluding 2013, you could make the argument that Singleton already deserves to be in Houston. But I think the Astros so far have handled it correctly by letting him build up his confidence in AAA before his promotion. Of course there are also the financial considerations of Singleton’s Super-2 arbitration status so we can’t ignore that.
Singleton needs to be in Houston by the All-Star break at the latest, and I think it will happen. It better.