Singleton promoted, signs historic contract

Jon Singleton fields a ground ball during Astros spring training earlier this year. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Jon Singleton fields a ground ball during Astros spring training earlier this year. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The Houston Astros are promoting one of their top prospects, first baseman Jon Singleton, in time for the team’s game against the Los Angeles Angels tomorrow. Accompanying this news today was Yahoo Sports writer Jeff Passan’s report that Singleton agreed to a historic contract that guarantees him $10 million before he’s played a single game in the major leagues.

The 5-year contract for a guaranteed $10 million reportedly includes three option years worth $20 million more, and various incentives make the deal potentially worth about $35 million total. Singleton gives up one year of free agency and would hit the open market at age 30 if the Astros pick up all three options.

As Passan noted in the report I linked to, Singleton has had some off-field problems and served a 50-game suspension for marijuana use last season. That suspension led to Singleton playing six games with the Quad Cities River Bandits to start his 2013 season. He also played 11 games at Double-A before moving up to Triple-A, where the Astros left him for the rest of the season.

In his six games with the River Bandits, Singleton batted .286 with three home runs, two doubles, five RBI, four walks and five strikeouts. He previously played in Low-A in the South Atlantic League (.290 with 14 HR and 77 RBI for the 2010 Lakewood BlueClaws) when he was a Philadelphia Phillies farmhand. The Astros acquired him in a trade involving Hunter Pence in July 2011.

Appel’s struggles continue

The well-documented struggles of RHP Mark Appel, Houston’s No. 1 draft pick in 2013, continued with the worst outing of his young career Saturday. He gave up 10 earned runs on 10 hits and a walk in 1.1 IP for the High-A Lancaster JetHawks.

There are several theories as to why Appel is struggling, from him not adjusting well from a seven-day routine to a five-day one, to him tipping his pitches. Regardless of the cause, so far it’s been a disappointing year that began with an appendectomy before spring training. (J.J. Cooper of Baseball America gives his take on Appel’s rough start here.)

Appel started eight games for the River Bandits last year, going 3-1 with a 3.82 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 33 IP.

Mark Appel started eight games for the Quad Cities River Bandits last year. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Mark Appel pitched for the River Bandits last year. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

You may recall that the 2013 River Bandits were the first MiLB team ever to have consecutive No. 1 overall draft picks on its roster at the same time (Appel and 2012 draftee Carlos Correa, who is batting .320 with 5 HR, 48 RBI and 14 SB in 48 games with the JetHawks this year).

This year’s top draft pick goes to Houston again (for an unprecedented third consecutive year), so it’s possible Quad Cities will get another No. 1 overall draft pick this season or next. According to this MLB.com article by Brian McTaggart, North Carolina State LHP Carlos Rodon, high school LHP Brady Aiken, LSU RHP Aaron Nola, high school RHP Tyler Kolek and high school C/OF Alex Jackson are among those under consideration for the pick.

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This entry was posted in California League, Lakewood BlueClaws, Lancaster JetHawks, Midwest League, Quad Cities River Bandits, South Atlantic League. Bookmark the permalink.

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