Fans are clamoring for another bat to add to an Astros’ offense that ranked 21st in runs scored last season, yet there is one bat that could bring the offense to life, if he shows some of the promise that has already landed him a contract.
Jon Singleton was brought up and struggled mightily in 2014, batting just .168. On the bright side, Singleton showed some home run potential, blasting off 13 times, but his strikeout rate of 43.2 percent was much too high for a major leaguer. In six minor league seasons, Singleton put up a .388 on-base percentage, which is quite impressive. If he could raise his OBP in the majors from his 2014 showing of .285 to say .330 in 2015, the Astros may be on the right path.
It wouldn’t take much for Jon Singleton to reach the .330 mark either. That is a difference of 45 points over last season, and with his batting average being so dreadful, a 45 point increase, would still leave the slugger with a .213 average. Not great, but a drastic improvement and something to build upon moving forward.
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As for his strikeout rate, Singleton’s 43.2 mark isn’t indicative of his minor league numbers. In his time in the minors, his rate was a much lower 26.7 percent. While this is still a high mark, it sounds much better than his 2014 showing.
This all sounds doable, right? But can he in fact deliver? Here is some reason for optimism when it comes to Jon Singleton in 2015. He spent some time in Triple-A in 2013, and seemed overmatched. His batting average, which had never dropped below .284 in any substantial stops, ended up at .220 in 245 at-bats. His strikeout rate was also much higher, coming in at 36.3 percent, nearly ten percent above his minor league average.
Last season, he started the year in Triple-A and his numbers were much improved, posting a .267 average, displaying more power in fewer at-bats, and striking out a touch below his normal rate at 26.6.
This is my argument for Jon Singleton providing a little more at the plate in 2015. But what can we expect?
I’m going to throw out my early predictions of a .215 batting average, with a .340 OBP and 25 home runs, while driving in 75. His strikeout rate will come down a little to 37 percent, decreasing over the course of the season.
Too high? Too low? What do you think?