Jonathan Singleton tested positive for using marijuana. He was busted for that twice, actually, and the after the second offense, baseball suspended him for the first 50 games of the 2013 regular season. Now, I could probably spend the rest of this post writing about how idiotic it seems to slap such a lengthy suspension on a 21-year-old prospect for puffing a few doobs — after all, this is the same sport that hardly cares to notice when year after year ballplayers are arrested for driving while drunk. The crime/punishment standards in these cases seem a tad ridiculous, but what do I know? Anyway, before news of his suspension, Singleton was being tabbed as a 2013 impact arrival. He’d spent all of 2012 at Double-A Corpus Christi, posting a full-season line at .284/.396/.497 with 52 XBH (21 HR). He was all set to begin the year at Triple-A, on track for arrival in Houston sometime in the mid-to-late stages of the regular season.
Instead, though, Singleton didn’t see game action until late May, and rather than Triple-A competition, the Astros opted to ease him back into game form with a Low-A assignment in the Midwest League. He pushed through the lower levels quickly and surfaced at Triple-A Oklahoma City in mid-June, but the touted slugger never was able to find a comfort level. In 294 PA at OKC, Singleton batted .220/.340/.347 with just 6 homers. His ISO dropped from .213 in 2012 to a miniscule .127 in 2013 — a pretty lousy figure for a supposed masher of a first baseman. It was disappointing to see such a dramatic drop off, but I can’t help but think the time missed to suspension contributed significantly to the decline.
It’s easy to forget about prospects who fall from grace. The hype machine tends to ignore those fantasy prospects who aren’t posting George Springer-type numbers. But please don’t forget about Singleton. The 22-year-old will likely return to Oklahoma City to begin 2014, but he’s still a talent capable of posting 30+ HR years at the big league level, and he’s not gonna hurt you on the AVG side of things. A June arrival seems like the most likely scenario for Singleton — plenty of time to make a big impact in the fantasy game. When discussing Astros prospects for fantasy purposes, the conversation is going to gravitate toward Springer, and rightfully so. But it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Singleton outproduces Springer in Houston next season.