Aug 2, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros first baseman Jon Singleton (28) during the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Minute Maid Park. The Astros defeated the Blue Jays 8-2. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
First base can likely go to one of five guys throughout the season. In order of (perceived) likelihood: Jon Singleton, Chris Carter, Evan Gattis, Matt Dominguez, and Dan Johnson.
Starter: With a $10 million contract that gets pricier on incentives, I am certainly rooting for Jon Singleton to have a big spring training. He has made adjustments in the past through a somewhat rocky road the past couple of seasons. Jon has the tools to succeed at the plate whether it be an advanced eye or above-average power. I have full faith in Jon.
Backup: Matt Dominguez. Some may be quick to say Chris Carter or Evan Gattis here… but let’s be real, neither are fit to play defense. Dan Johnson was brought in on a minor-league deal and would require someone to be DFA’d for a roster spot.
First base is the most open position up for grabs, depending on the success of Jon Singleton during spring training. You will see Singleton, Evan Gattis, Matt Dominguez, Matt Duffy, and Chris Carter playing that position.
Starter: Evan Gattis – Even though Jon Singleton is the future of the Astros, his struggles last year showed that he may not have been ready. If Singleton struggles in spring training, I see him starting half the season or until needed in AAA. Evan Gattis will get the starting nod at first base unless he appears he can’t handle it. In my opinion, Jon Singleton versus Jake Marisnick is the main spring training battle. The Astros like Marisnick’s overall game, so if he’s the starter in center, Gattis will be the first baseman. If Gattis is the starter at first, Singleton will be in AAA getting at bats.
Backup: Matt Dominguez – With Luis Valbuena penciled in as the starter at third, with Dominguez getting starts against lefthanders. Dominguez will learn the position to make the team.
The obvious choice for me, Singleton.
First base is less about the position battle between the players at that position than it is about who makes the third outfielder. Without giving away my OF prediction, I think Evan Gattis will be moved to first to start the season. Yes, I know he’s played only FOUR games there. But I think his bat makes up for his defense, and Jon Singleton struggled at the plate in 2014. Thus, Singleton starts in AAA again this year but is the first player called up when the time comes. Plus Singleton’s contract isn’t so large that it forces the Astros’ hand to play him.
Aug 15, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves catcher Evan Gattis (24) shows emotion after a home run against the Oakland Athletics in the second inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Del Castillo
Jon Singleton should be starting the season as the first baseman for the Houston Astros, since the 23 year old left handed power hitter has been given a vote of confidence by his GM and his manager in the early parts of 2015. The big question will be how long a leash he is kept on. With Evan Gattis and Chris Carter waiting to steal Singleton’s spot at first base, the youngster will have to come out swinging if he wants to remain part of Houston’s grand scheme.
No surprises here, I’m going with Singleton. It’s not about the money, I just have a sneaking suspicion that he’s going to have a much better season that he showed last year. If he struggles mightily in spring training and needs some time in the minors to start the season off, Gattis would be the next in line one would assume.
Next: Second Base