The Astros skirted the Super Two drama with first base prospect Jon Singleton, agreeing to a five-year, $10 million guaranteed deal on Monday that comes with a promotion to the big league club. The deal, which includes three club options, could be worth up to $35 million.
Singleton, the No. 82 prospect according to Baseball America and No. 50 prospect by MLB.com's rankings, hit .267/.397/.544 with 14 homers, 10 doubles and 43 RBI in 239 plate appearances for Triple-A Oklahoma City. He and George Springer have long been seen as the future power bats in the middle of the Houston lineup, and with Springer taking off in recent weeks, the Astros seem to have already hit on one of the two.
Fantasy owners should stop what they're doing to add Singleton, who can be a boon to any team in the power categories. Springer's early-season struggles, however, could be instructive here. No matter how good a hitter not named Mike Trout or Yasiel Puig is, he is going to have to make adjustments at the major league level to be successful. In 61 plate appearances in April, Springer hit .182/.262/.218 without a homer. He turned it on in May, though, slashing .294/.385/.647 with 10 homers and 25 RBI. The old adage that "hitters hit" often proves true. Sometimes, it just takes a few more reps than trigger-happy fantasy owners want before a top prospect gets it going.
Singleton is a hitter who will almost certainly hit in the majors. In more than 2,000 plate appearances in his minor league career, the 22-year-old hit .279/.388/.466 with 75 homers and 111 doubles. Originally drafted by the Phillies and sent to Houston in the Hunter Pence deal, the 6-foot-2, 255-pounder has plenty of raw power that should play well at Minute Maid Park. He cut his strikeout rate to 21.8 percent from 30.3 percent at Oklahoma City last year and increased his walk rate to 17.6 percent from 15.6 percent.
The big lefty can start right away in 12-team leagues and should be owned in all mixers. We're going to keep the projection for now, understanding that, like his teammate Springer, it's likely going to take Singleton some time to get comfortable with big league pitching. While the Astros locked in a long-term asset at a wildly affordable cost, they also wouldn't have offered Singleton the deal unless they were very confident he could be a big part of their future. Fantasy owners should share that confidence. With a regular spot in the Houston lineup, Singleton could hit 15 homers to go along with a .240/.330/.440 slash. The ceiling is much higher.