The Brewers are re-signing first baseman Jon Singleton to a minor league contract, reports Adam McCalvy of MLB.com (Twitter link). The 31-year-old will be in big league Spring Training as a non-roster invitee, McCalvy adds.
It’s a second straight season in the Milwaukee organization for Singleton, who hasn’t appeared in the big leagues since 2015. A member of Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects lists every year between 2011-14, the power-hitting first baseman signed a $10MM extension with the Astros in June 2014. That came in conjunction with his first big league promotion, a precursor to pre-MLB guarantees for players like Scott Kingery, Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert. Houston’s hope was they’d found a middle-of-the-order presence for years to come, but the left-handed hitter didn’t meet the lofty expectations.
Over the next season and a half, Singleton sputtered to a .171/.290/.331 line in 114 MLB games. After playing the 2016-17 seasons in the high minors, he was released in May 2018. That came on the heels of a third career suspension following a failed test for a drug of abuse. As McCalvy chronicled in greater detail this past spring, Singleton has been open about his battle with marijuana addiction.
Singleton spent a few years out of the game but returned to professional baseball in Mexico last year. He spent the entire 2022 campaign with the Brew Crew’s top affiliate in Nashville, putting together a solid season. Through 581 plate appearances, he hit .219/.375/.434. His batting average isn’t eye-catching, but he connected on 24 home runs and drew walks in an incredible 20.1% of his trips to the dish. Even with an elevated 27.7% strikeout rate, he ranked 15th among 148 International League hitters (minimum 300 plate appearances) in on-base percentage and tied for seventh in long balls.
That wasn’t enough for Singleton to get a big league look, but it was sufficient for the Brewers to bring him back on another minor league deal. He’ll get a chance to compete for an MLB job next spring. Milwaukee can retain both of their 2022 first basemen, Rowdy Tellez and Keston Hiura. Like Singleton, Tellez is a left-handed hitter whose profile is carried by his power and plate discipline. He’s clearly above Singleton on the depth chart, although he’s projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz for a $5.3MM salary in his second year of arbitration eligibility. That’s not an insignificant sum for a Brewers team with a huge arbitration class, and as MLBTR’s Maury Ahram explored earlier this month, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Milwaukee fields trade offers on Tellez this offseason.