The next great thing has arrived at the Houston Astros’ Triple-A club in Fresno, but Jon Singleton offered a record-setting reminder Wednesday night that he’s still around, too.
With the prosect hounds focused on the newly arrived Carlos Correa, it was Singleton who seized the spotlight 10 times over in front of 6,842 fans at Isotopes Park in Albuquerque. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound left-handed swinger drove in 10 runs with the help of a pair of homers as the Grizzlies beat up the Isotopes 17-6.
The 10 RBIs are a franchise record, with Nick Noonan having driven in eight in May 2012 against Round Rock. Mike Moustakas, now the third baseman for the Kansas City Royals, set the modern-day Pacific Coast League record of 11 for Omaha in a 23-5 victory over Round Rock in the final homestand at Rosenblatt Stadium in 2010.
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A look at Singleton’s night:
Strikeout (with two aboard)
Lineout as the leadoff man
“That’s an amazing feat for anybody, at any level — 10 RBIs, a grand slam,” manager Tony DeFrancesco was quoted at milb.com. “It’s good to see him confident and with a smile on his face and believing in himself.”
Correa, meanwhile, considered one of the top five prospects in all of minor league baseball, was 1 for 4 with a double, two walks and three runs scored in his second game since being promoted to Fresno from Double-A. He is off to a 2-for-9 start on what is expected to be a very brief stop before taking the final step to the majors.
Singleton was close to being that guy not long ago, an eighth-round pick by Philadelphia in the 2009 draft who was traded to Houston’s organization and rocketed to minor league star status in 2012 when he hit 21 homers in 461 at-bats in Double-A.
The Astros signed him to a $10 million extension midway through the 2014 season despite Singleton having no major league experience, though that came within days as he was called up to the Astros to finish out the year.
Singleton hit 13 homers in 310 major league at-bats but batted just .168 with 134 strikeouts. After hitting .200 in 50 at-bats this spring, he was sent to new Astros affiliate Fresno to start this season.
“It was kind of a snowball effect when I started to have a little rough patch last year,” Singleton told the Albuquerque Journal, “but it’s all about taking it day by day and hitting the reset button.”
A relatively ordinary April (.243, four homers, 10 RBIs) has given way to what is already a massive May with seven homers and 25 RBIs to give him the minor league lead in both categories. He has 18 RBIs in the past three games.
“It’s good to see him come around. He struggled early and he’s been working on a lot of things to get back to the major leagues,” DeFrancesco said. “But his confidence is up now, and he’s hitting the ball up front and driving the ball to all fields.”
The second homer sailed out past the 428-foot sign in center.
“It didn’t matter where (the pitch) was. The last three games, 18 RBIs? It’s amazing,” DeFrancesco said. “I’ve seen him hit some good ones. That was the farthest I’ve seen, way past the trees out there.”
Singleton’s previous career high for RBIs in a game was six for Class-A (Advanced) Clearwater in June 2011.