Astros 1B Prospect Jon Singleton is One Cool Cat

I know, I know … “one cool cat” has to be the lamest descriptor ever, but I couldn’t help myself. From the moment I met Jon (as he prefers to be called) last weekend in Corpus Christi where he plays with the AA Hooks team, the phrase kept popping into my brain unbidden. From the Long Beach area, Singleton has a California mellow vibe about him. Don’t get me wrong. He works as hard as anyone else on the team, but you can tell he’s having fun with it.

And why wouldn’t he be having fun? Going into the 2012 season, he was rated the number one prospect in the Astros organization by most, including Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com. At the ripe old age of 20, he is ranked first in runs scored, fourth in walks, and fifth in slugging, OPS and RBIs in the extremely tough Texas league. And that’s after he’s been through a bit of a slump in the month of June.

Hooks Manager Keith Bodie had this to say about Singleton, “He has a chance to be a very special player. I’ve been around a long time. I’ve seen a lot of great hitters. For me, he’s one of the best young hitters that I’ve ever come across. Bat speed, discipline at the plate, tremendous first baseman, quality person, totally committed to baseball … the sky’s the limit for him. Across the board, he’s a special player.”

Hitting Coach Joel Chimelis added this, “For him to be a 20 year old and hit fourth in the lineup at AA, that’s not an easy task. People forget that. He’s improved so much [since the start of the season]. He may not see it or feel it but I see it. It’s amazing. [He] is a very hard worker, very good aptitude, wants to learn, very eager to learn.”

Chimelis went on to tell me about the things he’s been working on with Singleton. According to Chimelis, Singleton doesn’t realize how strong he is and tends to do too much with his body to generate power. He needs to simplify his swing to become more consistent and effort free. And Chimelis is working with the left-handed hitting Singleton to improve his skills against lefty pitchers, “Once he has the confidence that he can stay in there a little bit longer on the lefties, I think he’s gonna be fine because he has a pretty good strike zone awareness.”

I asked Singleton about his experience getting drafted out of high school. His advice for the new draftees? “It’s definitely a learning experience. It’s three or four years of your life that you really want to enjoy and have fun so just take your time. You shouldn’t be in any rush.”

Take your time. Enjoy yourself. Be cool. Jon Singleton obviously heeds his own advice.

For more on the Astros minor league system, visit What the Heck, Bobby? or follow me on twitter @whattheheck57.

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