The Brewers announced this morning that they’ve signed first baseman Jon Singleton to a minor league contract. Robert Murray of FanSided, meanwhile, reported (on Twitter) that Milwaukee is also in agreement with first baseman Tyler White. Minor league contracts for players not a 40-man roster at the end of last season are still permissible during the lockout.
White and Singleton are both best-known for their time with the Astros. The former debuted in the majors in 2016, serving as a part-time righty bat to work into the first base/designated hitter mix. After a very strong .276/.354/.533 showing across 237 plate appearances in 2018, White looked on his way to cementing himself as a long-term fixture on the roster. The former 33rd-round pick struggled to a .208/.308/.304 mark in 279 trips to the dish between Houston and the Dodgers the following season, though, and he hasn’t made it back to the big leagues since.
In 2020, White signed on with the SK Wyverns of the Korea Baseball Organization. He only made nine appearances in South Korea, and he returned to the U.S. this past season. White signed a minor league deal with the Blue Jays last winter. Despite a .292/.424/.476 showing with the Jays’ top affiliate in Buffalo, he didn’t get a big league shot with Toronto. White, owner of an impressive .306/.406/.523 line across five seasons at Triple-A, will try to play his way back into the big leagues with the Brew Crew.
Singleton has only appeared in two major league seasons, but he may be the more well-known of the Brewers’ two new first basemen. The left-handed hitter appeared among Baseball America’s top 100 overall prospects every season from 2011-14. In June 2014, Houston signed Singleton to a $10MM contract extension before he made his major league debut, a precursor to similar pacts for players like Scott Kingery, Evan White, Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert.
The Singleton deal didn’t pan out as the Astros had hoped, as he hit just .171/.290/.331 across 420 MLB plate appearances from 2014-15. He spent the next two seasons in the high minors, and Houston released Singleton in May 2018, not long after he was suspended for the third time in his career after testing positive for a drug of abuse. (Singleton had been open in the past about his struggle with marijuana addiction).
Singleton hasn’t played in affiliated ball since his release from the Astros, but he did return to professional baseball this year. Now 30 years old, he suited up with the Diablos Rojos del México, mashing at a .321/.503/.693 clip over 189 plate appearances. That’s a small sample in an incredibly hitter-friendly environment, but it was eye-opening enough to earn him another chance in the affiliated ranks.