The Houston Astros Next Big Call-Up: Jon Singleton or Domingo Santana?


When George Springer arrived with much fanfare last month, and rightfully so, the fans started to wonder when the next hotshot prospect of the Houston Astros be called up to help out the squad. Will it be the talented first baseman Jon Singelton, or the young outfielder Domingo Santana perhaps? Each have had their highs and lows, but fans are anxious to see if the hype is real surrounding these two young prospects.

Jon Singleton and his issues with marijuana are well documented, and he struggled at the plate after serving a 50-game suspension last season for violating the minor league baseball drug policy. This probably didn’t give him much of a shot of making the team right out of spring training this year. Couple that with his 2013 stat line of .220 BA, 6 HR, and 31 RBI through 73 games in Triple-A and it was going to be a tough hill to climb. He would in turn have to prove his worth and disprove any doubts that may linger with the Oklahoma City Red Hawks to earn his shot in the majors this season.

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Up to this point of the season, he sure has earned his shot. Singleton appears to have turn the corner and put last year’s suspension behind him. With a 2014 stat line of .268 BA, 12 HR, and 35 RBI through just 45 games, he has clearly picked up his game in comparison with last season’s Triple-A stats. His on-base percentage has moved up from .340 to .398, and even more impressive is his slugging percentage jumping upward from .347 to .555 currently. This is the type of player the Astros were hoping they would acquire when they traded

Hunter Pence

in 2011; a potential face of the franchise.

Now, he may need more time in Oklahoma City to see if he continues to adjust to pitchers and their adjustments. Playing a solid first base is essential as well. He also has to prove he will not be a distraction off the field and in the clubhouse. But sooner or later Astros GM Jeff Luhnow will have to give him a shot. He would already be an improvement at first base than anyone currently on the 25-man roster and his overall game should continue to improve as he gains more experience. It now appears to be just a matter of time before the organization believes he can handle the responsibility of manning the position and the pressure of being the face of the franchise.

Domingo Santana was the player to be named later in the aforementioned Hunter Pence trade. The report on Santana at the time of the trade was him being extremely talented, but very raw overall. He needed the minor league experience. And nobody knows for a player so raw like him if that would have been four years, or if ever, for him to reach the majors. But, as of now, it is looking closer to the former for the young outfielder.

Being only 21 years of age in Triple-A, and posting the stats he has so far, is noteworthy. With a .289 BA, 6 HR, 30 RBI, along with a .467 slugging percentage, he is proving himself as a reliable force in the lineup in 2014. If he continues to produce at this level, and if the Astros lose one of their outfielders for a significant stretch of time, then it is not out of the realm of possibility for the Astros to call him up before Singleton.

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Astros appear to be content to let the rest of the league pass them by this offseason
Astros appear to be content to let the rest of the league pass them by this offseason /

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  • The questions with Santana follow any young minor league player universally. Can he handle the pressure of being in the major league? Is he able to adjust to Major League pitching? Will he need more time in the minors to improve his overall game? All of these are valid questions. Santana is only in his first season at Triple-A, and should be experiencing pitchers making different adjustments to him at the plate. Gaining that extra experience before thrusting him into the pressure of the majors may be wise. The difference between minor league and major league pitching is huge, and if an entire of season of Triple-A makes the adjustment easier then so be it. Setting Santana up for long-term success will be the reason the Astros keep him with the Red Hawks, even if it is for a few more months.

    Each of the two players brings their own pros and cons to the table for being worthy of a call-up first. Singleton has the most experience in Triple-A, and first base is a higher priority going forward, more so than the outfield. But he will have to continue to prove he is over the marijuana issue, and if he can be a reliable cornerstone for the Astros. Santana has so far proven himself in Triple-A, but may need to continue this for an entire season before he advances further to the majors.

    Both players are still young, 22 and 21 respectively, but the experience factor in Triple-A may be the determining factor. Currently, I believe Singleton edges out Santana for the promotion, which I can see taking place in June. Singleton provides more of a power presence in the lineup, which is always a need for the Astros.

    What do you think? Should Singleton receive the next promotion, or should Santana be given a shot in the outfield next to George Springer and Dexter Fowler? That would make for an interesting and exciting outfield. Go at it everyone!