OKC RedHawks' Jonathan Singleton has big league skills

Now that he's snapped out of a recent slump, the Astros' top prospect looks like he's ready to compete for a big league job.
by Michael Baldwin Published: August 17, 2013
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photo - Oklahoma City's Jon Singleton (23) bats in the fourth inning during a minor league baseball game between the Albuquerque Isotopes and the Oklahoma City RedHawks at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, Friday, Aug. 16, 2013. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Jon Singleton (23) bats in the fourth inning during a minor league baseball game between the Albuquerque Isotopes and the Oklahoma City RedHawks at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, Friday, Aug. 16, 2013. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

It took some time, but first baseman Jonathan Singleton is showing RedHawks fans why he's listed as the top prospect in the Houston Astros organization, and one of the top hitting prospects in the minors.

Singleton got a delayed start to the 2013 season. The Long Beach, Calif., native was suspended the first 50 games for a second positive test for marijuana.

Returning in late May, Singleton slammed five homers in 17 games in Class A and Double-A. But his first month in Triple-A, Singleton batted .198 with only one home run in 27 games.

“There's definitely an adjustment period once you move up level to level, but (the slump) lasted longer than it should have,” Singleton said. “I realized a long time ago this game is a game of failure. Even the top hitters make outs seven out of 10 times. I never really stressed out about it.”

The slump is over. Heading into the RedHawks' game Saturday night at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, Singleton was hitting .300 in August with 14 RBIs in 15 games.

“When I watched him take batting practice (before Saturday's game) he looked like the same guy I saw last year in Double-A,” said Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow. “He's a guy who can do a lot of damage, not only at this level but the big league level.”

Singleton, a 6-foot-2, 235-pound power hitter, batted .292 with 48 homers, 221 RBIs and compiled an on-base percentage near .400 his first three pro seasons.

“He's a can't-miss kid. He has the whole package,” said RedHawks hitting coach Leon Roberts. “The life in his swing doesn't come along very often. He was off just a tick or there but I knew he wasn't very far off.

“His numbers said he was far away but I could see his swing was close. Pete Rose used to say the cream always rises to the top. You knew a player with that type of talent would catch fire.”

Singleton's 50-game suspension isn't the same situation as Alex Rodriguez and others handed suspensions for their involvement with performance enhancing drugs. Singleton tested positive for marijuana.

“Most people know my situation, but they're kind of surprised the suspension is the same,” Singleton said. “That's in the past. I've learned lessons from it. Throughout this whole experience I've learned different things. It is what it is. I served my time and I've moved on.”


by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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