Jon Singleton's offensive surge is making Jose Abreu's Astros comeback more difficult

And you thought Joey Loperfido was going to be the problem.
Houston Astros first baseman Jon Singleton (28) hits a home run
Houston Astros first baseman Jon Singleton (28) hits a home run / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Astros made the difficult, yet appropriate, decision to option struggling first baseman Jose Abreu down to the minor leagues. Earlier this week, Abreu was sent to the Astros spring training complex in Florida where he'll get in some one-on-one work and presumably be sent out to one of Houston's minor-league affiliates in the coming weeks.

It's been a rather humiliating and humbling experience for the former AL MVP. Abreu struggled last season during his first year with the Astros franchise, but the numbers he's put up this season have been atrocious. Abreu was hitting .099/.156/.113 with 23.4% strikeout rate and lowest expected slugging percentage (.174) in the league before flying down to West Palm Beach.

In addition to the demotion of Abreu, the Astros decided it was time for Joey Loperfido to ascend to the major leagues. The hard-hitting prospect had been mashing baseballs down at Triple-A, and most assumed he'd be taking up the mantle at first base in place of Abreu. But Loperfido will have to uproot the hot-hitting Jon Singleton, who's been on a tear of late.

Jon Singleton's offensive surge is making Jose Abreu's Astros comeback more difficult

Singleton was in Loperfido's spot several years back. Few Astros fans probably remember back in 2013 when Singleton was considered one of the top prospects in the team's farm system. According to MLB Pipeline, Singleton was a top-100 prospect and at the time was playing alongside the likes of George Springer, Carlos Correa, and Lance McCullers Jr.

Singleton was drafted by the Philadelphia Philies and came to Houston in the Hunter Pence trade over a decade ago. But Singleton, like so many who've come before him, never lived up to the enormous hype that comes with being a top prospect. Singleton flamed out after the 2015 season following an unimpressive .171 batting average through his first two major league seasons.

Singleton battled a humbling experience in the minor leagues, coupled with a 100-game suspension and a trip to the Mexican League. The slugger found his way back to the bigs in 2023 with the Milwaukee Brewers only to be welcomed back to Houston last season after he was DFA'd during the summer.

With more playing time this season, Singleton has been crushing the baseball of late, and showing off the raw power that saw him climb the Astros' minor league ladder over a decade ago. Since April 10, Singleton is hitting .324/.409/.541 with two doubles, two home runs, and nine RBI.

The Astros need Abreu to do everything he can while on his minor league assignment to get back to The Show, but Singleton could make his job even more difficult if he keeps swinging a hot bat. Meanwhile, Loperfido better get used to playing the outfield.

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