The Astros have released first baseman Jon Singleton, the team announced (h/t Mark Berman of FOX 26, via Twitter). He is currently serving a 100-game suspension for his third positive test for a drug of abuse.
Singleton had previously been outrighted off of the Houston 40-man roster. Once one of the team’s top prospects, he is best known at this point for failing to pan out in the majors after signing an extension just in advance of his initial elevation to the majors.
At the time that contract was entered, it drew quite a lot of criticism. Many were concerned that Singleton — at the time, one of several high-end prospects vying to become core members of a pre-breakout Astros team — had given the team too much upside for a $10MM guarantee. But the deal has clearly turned out to the advantage of a player that received a fairly minimal signing bonus as an amateur and has accrued limited MLB time since — a possibility we pointed out in a full analysis at the time.
Singleton is earning $2MM this year, the final guaranteed season in the contract. He’s still owed $1MM in total buyouts for the next three years, as well. The deal gave the Astros successive options at $2.5MM, $5MM, and $13MM that obviously will not be exercised.
Singleton’s only lengthy MLB action came in his first season with the ’Stros. He picked up a few more in the 2015 season, but has not been back since. Through 420 plate appearances at the game’s highest level, he carries a meager .171/.290/.331 slash line with 14 home runs and 151 strikeouts against sixty walks.
Despite his struggles in the majors, Singleton remains an interesting hitter who could get a look elsewhere — at least, that is, if other organizations are willing to deal with his mounting problems with testing positive for drugs of abuse. Though he has always swung and missed a fair bit, Singleton has solid power and a phenomenal eye. Last year, for instance, he popped 18 home runs and drew 107 walks in his 500 Double-A plate appearances.