Astros minor league first baseman Jon Singleton has received a 100-game suspension after a third positive test for a drug of abuse, the league announced today. Right-hander Dean Deetz, also in the Astros system, has received an 80-game suspension after testing positive for a performance enhancing substance (dehydrochlormethyltestosterone). As Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper tweets, Deetz is ranked 22nd on BA’s unreleased ranking of the Astros’ top 30 prospects.
It’s been nearly four years since the Astros signed the now-26-year-old Singleton to a five-year, $10MM contract extension before the former top prospect had played a single day in the Majors. Singleton, viewed as a potential everyday first baseman at that point, was widely panned for selling himself short, though it now looks as if he made the correct call in taking the money when presented with the opportunity.
Singleton was called up to the Majors immediately upon signing the deal and homered in his big league debut, but that highlight proved to be one of the few he’d experience in the big leagues. The slugger went on to hit .168/.285/.335 with 13 homers in 362 plate appearances as a rookie, and he’s tallied just 58 plate appearances in the Majors since.
Singleton spent the 2016 season in Triple-A and the 2017 season back in Double-A, narrowly keeping his average above the Mendoza Line but still showing some pop and a penchant for drawing walks. Singleton is owed $2MM on that contract in 2018, though, he will not be paid during the 100-game term of his suspension. Houston had already outrighted Singleton in the 2016-17 offseason, so his suspension won’t free up a spot on the 40-man roster.
Deetz, 24, was Houston’s 11th-round pick back in 2011. He appeared in 25 games between the Astros’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates last season, totaling 84 2/3 innings with a 4.25 ERA, 10.3 K/9 and 5.0 BB/9 in that time. Unlike Singleton, he was on the Astros’ 40-man roster, so his placement on the restricted list will create an opening for Houston. Deetz has formally issued a statement denying any knowing use of a PED:
“Let me say first and foremost that I have never knowingly taken a performance enhancing substance of any kind. I come from a small town, and know how fortunate I am to call myself a professional baseball player. I would never jeopardize that opportunity, or betray those who have supported me along the way, by trying to cheat in order to gain an advantage. As I explained to the arbitrator in my appeal, I have no idea how I could possibly have tested positive and although I am disappointed with the outcome, I will abide by his decision. I would like to apologize to my family, friends, the Houston Astros organization, coaches teammates and fans that have been impacted by this situation. I will continue working diligently to clear my name and, in the meantime, rebuild the trust of those who have been affected by this result.”