Jonathan Singleton (Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports)
The official reporting date for Spring Training was Wednesday with the first official workout for the full squad being Thursday. Despite that fact, Kissimmee has been filled with Houston Astros as they look to get an early jump on preparing for the season. This makes the actual reporting date merely a formality as every member of the Astros has a lot to prove.
Most position players reported either Sunday or Monday as they try to either improve on last season or win a job with the Astros for 2014. As of Wednesday afternoon, just two players were missing from Astros’ camp (excluding Japhet Amador). One, infielder Ronald Torreyes does not figure to have much of a role with the Astros either in 2014 or in the future. The other missing player is a little more worrisome.
Yes as long as you are on the field Thursday morning for the first workout, you are considered to be on time. But there is the school of thought that if you are merely on time, you are in fact late. So by the letter of the law, Jonathan Singleton has not done anything wrong, but that should not make you feel any better that the 22-year old first baseman did not report to Spring Training early.
This is an important Spring Training for Singleton. At the risk of hyperbole, it might be the most important of his career. He is still young enough to be legitimately considered a prospect, and unless he absolutely tears it up during Spring Training he likely will be beginning his 2014 in Kissimmee. There is nothing wrong with that, but Singleton really needs to have a strong season as a whole.
The foundation of the season is built in Spring Training, and Singleton is getting off to a late start. Again, I don’t want to overreact here about Singleton showing up “on time”, but it does give you some apprehension. His 2013 season was marked by a 50 game suspension and was disappointing for the most part. Singleton did finish the year out strong in winter ball which left him with less of an off-season, but you would think that he would want to get his 2014 off to an early start.
Brett Wallace and J.D. Martinez are two players with every right to sulk and be frustrated as the one-time highly regarded prospects, at least to the Astros and their plans, and both were removed from the 40-man roster this winter. But they have already shown up in Kissimmee.
Players like Carlos Correa who have absolutely no chance of starting the year with Houston are already in camp looking to learn, and improve their games.
But Singleton, who actually has a chance at making the Astros to start the season, or by the All-Star break at the absolute latest, is nowhere to be found. His path is a little clearer now that Amador’s status is unknown and Wallace is off the 40-man roster.
So you would think Singleton would sense this opportunity and make sure he was in camp getting prepared for the season. It hasn’t gone unnoticed by Porter that the rest of the players had actually reported early, and that is a good thing as the Astros look to build a culture of success and winning. But you have to wonder about Singleton long term.
"“When you have this many guys show up early, it actually, it almost feels like we’ve had full workouts (already),” manager Bo Porter said Wednesday. “Just because we’ve had the voluntary workouts and so many guys are here.”Porter directly praised some position players for being around so soon.“I just got finished commending the position players,” Porter said. “It’s not every day that you have pretty much your entire contingent of position players show up three, four days early and have the type of workouts and the size of workouts they’ve been able to have as far as a voluntary workout. So I think the fact that we’ve had so many guys here already it almost feels like we’ve basically had the whole team here.”"