Singleton's return highlights Astros' prospects success

Singleton's return highlights Astros' prospects success
May 30, 2013, 1:00 pm
Share This Post

Jonathan Singleton’s 2013 debut was a smashing hit on Tuesday and is a reminder to Astros faithful that there are plenty of young talented players in the organization’s farm system, which is not only developing talent but winning games.

Through Wednesday, the Houston organization had the best combined record among its minor league teams. They had the worst record in baseball in 2010 and 2011.

Singleton, 21, who was acquired in the Hunter Pence deal in July, 2011 from the Phillies organization, homered in his first at-bat on Tuesday playing for Class A Quad Cities. The left-handed hitting first baseman also homered on Wednesday. Last year Singleton hit 21 home runs at Double-A Corpus Christi.

Other highly-regarded position players in the organization are right-handed hitting center fielder George Springer, 23, and shortstop Jonathan Villar,22, both at Corpus Christi. At Class A Lancaster, left-handed hitting center fielder Andrew Aplin, 22, was named California League Offensive Player of the Week for May 20-26 by hitting .462. Aplin’s teammate, left-handed hitting shortstop Nolan Fontana, 21, is hitting .317.

“It’s always challenging to get a complete read on the guys at high A, but you got to start with the performances of Aplin and Fontana have been eye opening,” said Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow. “In Double-A Springer’s been the story.

“Villar has shown flashes at Triple-A (Oklahoma City) of being almost ready to come up to this level. We’re happy with our shortstop production here(in Houston), but he’d be a guy that we’d want to push a little bit at some point this year.”

Carlos Correa, the first overall pick in last year’s draft, is developing on schedule. The 18-year-old shortstop is hitting .284 at Quad Cities. The Astros again have the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft.

“Correa’s been very good over the past month,” said Luhnow.

Starting pitching may be the strength of the farm system led by right-handers Jarred Cosart, 23, at Oklahoma City and Mike Foltynewicz, 21, who recently jumped up to Corpus Christi. Cosart and Foltynewicz both won on Tuesday. Having success at Corpus Christi are righties David Martinez, 25, and Jake Buchanan, 23. Martinez is 8-0 with a 1.83 ERA and Buchanan is 5-0 with a 0.84 ERA.

“It’s exciting to know that we’ve got an inventory of arms that aren’t that far away,” said Luhnow. “That over the next couple of years we’re going to be able to bring them up here. Challenge them.”

Another pitcher to keep an eye on is 24-year-old right-hander Asher Wojciechowski, who recently joined the Oklahoma City team.

“Most of our impressive performances are coming out of Double-A (Corpus Christi),” said Luhnow. “Martinez is leading all minor leagues in wins. Buchanan has been under the radar this year. What I like about Buchanan is that he’s been the beneficiary of the tandem system. Had we chosen to go with five starters instead of eight, he would not have been in the top five.

“Guys like him we gave an opportunity to. He’s proven that he belongs, not only in that level, but in that role. And Folty has managed that transition from high A to Double-A seamlessly. Wojo had a terrific stint in Double-A and now is at Triple-A, and Cosart continues to do well at Triple-A.

Cosart, who was also acquired in the Pence trade, is 5-2 with a 2.65 ERA at Oklahoma City. Foltynewicz is 1-0 with a 1.08 ERA at Corpus Christi.

Villar has 15 stolen bases at Oklahoma City.

Springer, selected in the first round (11th overall) in the 2011 draft, is hitting .297 with 15 home runs and 40 RBIs in his first 49 games.

“As an organization we’re trying to figure out what Springer needs to prepare himself for the big leagues,” said Luhnow. “Surely the skill set is there. He plays defense well. The question is, when he gets up here will the strikeouts be a problem. We want him to spend time in Triple-A as well. Hopefully, he’ll get a chance (at Oklahoma City) later this year.”

After a short stint at Quad Cities, Singleton will play briefly at Corpus Christi before settling in at Oklahoma City. Depending on how well Singleton plays at Oklahoma City determines how quickly the Astros bring him up to the major leagues.

“Most of our impressive performances are coming out of Double-A (Corpus Christi),” said Luhnow. “Martinez is leading all minor leagues in wins. Buchanan has been under the radar this year. What I like about Buchanan is that he’s been the beneficiary of the tandem system. Had we chosen to go with five starters instead of eight, he would not have been in the top five.

“Guys like him we gave an opportunity to. He’s proven that he belongs, not only in that level, but in that role. And Folty has managed that transition from high A to Double-A seamlessly. Wojo had a terrific stint in Double-A and now is at Triple-A, and Cosart continues to do well at Triple-A.

Cosart, who was also acquired in the Pence trade, is 5-2 with a 2.65 ERA at Oklahoma City. Foltynewicz is 1-0 with a 1.08 ERA at Corpus Christi.

Villar has 15 stolen bases at Oklahoma City.

Springer, selected in the first round (11th overall) in the 2011 draft, is hitting .297 with 15 home runs and 40 RBIs in his first 49 games.

“As an organization we’re trying to figure out what Springer needs to prepare himself for the big leagues,” said Luhnow. “Surely the skill set is there. He plays defense well. The question is, when he gets up here will the strikeouts be a problem. We want him to spend time in Triple-A as well. Hopefully, he’ll get a chance (at Oklahoma City) later this year.”

After a short stint at Quad Cities, Singleton will play briefly at Corpus Christi before settling in at Oklahoma City. Depending on how well Singleton plays at Oklahoma City determines how quickly the Astros bring him up to the major leagues.