The Fresno Grizzlies’ Jon Singleton hit a home run last night, to end a home run drought that had been highly publicized. It was his first homer since May 24th, but the home run gave him 15 homers on the season, enough to lead the league.
The focus on Singleton should be on how he has played during this home run drought. In his last ten games he is hitting .333 with the one home run he hit last night, seven RBIs and nine runs scored. Here is what really stands out, Singleton has walked 10 times and struck out only 11 times through this span, and if you take away the rough night he had in Vegas last week (we have all had rough nights in Vegas,) Singleton has only struck out six times in his last 10 games.
It was only a few weeks ago that Singleton was named the Pacific Coast League Player of the Month for May, when he knock in 37 runs, the most by a Triple-A player in a single month since May of 2011, when Brett Lawrie and Mike Carp each had 31 RBIS. Singleton finished the month hitting .285 with 10 home runs, including three grand slams. Then, less than a month later, the focus is on a so-called “home run” drought.
With the focus on his home run drought, what has gone under-reported is that Singleton leads the PCL in HRs (15) Runs (54), RBI (62) and he ranks second in total bases with 138. The most impressive stat is that this prolific slugger has a .389 OBP this season. The bottom line is Singleton is having a great season. Regardless of how many home runs he has hit since May 24.
The 23-year-old Singleton may be the highest paid player in the minor league system. He signed a guaranteed multi-year deal with the Astros last year, he’ll be earning $2.0M (2015) this season and then $2.0M (2016), $2.0M (2017), $2.0M (2018). In 2019 the club has a $2.5M club option or a $500,000.00 buyout and in 2020 the Astros have a $5.0M option or a $250,000.00 buyout. In the final year of the contract (2021) Houston has a $13M club option with a $250.000.00 buyout.
The Astros are not going to trade a player of Singleton’s talent and potential, when they have him signed to this multi-year deal, that was probably a win-win for both parties at the time it was signed. However, at the end of the day, Houston probably got the better end of this deal.
Baseball can be cruel. Singleton finds himself a victim of the first place Houston Astros success. He is stuck in Triple-A with the Astros playing Major League veterans Chris Carter and Evan Gattis in front of him and from the cheap seats it looks like barring an injury, Singleton will continue to play at Fresno through to the All-Star Break and perhaps for the entire season.