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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Astros Release Currently Suspended Ex-Top Prospect Jon Singleton

I remember a lot of sturm und drang about whether the Astros were taking advantage of Jon Singleton with the long-term contract. Guess that can be put to rest now.

The Houston Astros have released former top prospect Jon Singleton, who currently is serving a 100-game suspension for a third positive drug test.

jobu Posted: May 22, 2018 at 03:14 PM | 25 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros, bad contracts, blowing the last million, drugs in sports, not in the world series team picture

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   1. jobu Posted: May 22, 2018 at 03:37 PM (#5677452)
From June 3 of 2014:
Bud Norris and Mark Mulder unhappy with Singleton contract

Bud Norris: "Sorry but this Singleton deal is terrible. Wish the Jon listened to the union and not his agent."

Mark Mulder: "Just saw contract this #astros prospect signed. Either he doesn't believe in himself to be great or he has a terrible agent who wants the 4%."

That was the day of Jon Singleton's MLB debut, a day on which he was 1-for-3 with a home run and 2 RBI. It could well be that the Astros held Singleton hostage to signing a contract before they brought him up--I don't remember. I do remember thinking at the time that it was a pretty good contract for Singleton based on expected value.
   2. GGIAS (aka Poster Nutbag) Posted: May 22, 2018 at 03:45 PM (#5677466)
Maybe I am wildly mis-remembering, but didn't that contract signing have at least something to do with getting him on the 40 and called up as he was going to be popped for violating the Minor League Drug Policy (THC, banned in the Minors but not the Majors)?
   3. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 22, 2018 at 03:48 PM (#5677471)
Even in retrospect, it was a reasonable risk for the Astros to take. Including the buyout they'll pay next year, the entire contract winds up costing them the same as 4-5 months of Josh Reddick or a bit more than a full year of Joe Smith.

Tough to blame them for the decision, even having blown millions of dollars.
   4. Nasty Nate Posted: May 22, 2018 at 03:51 PM (#5677475)
Maybe I am wildly mis-remembering, but didn't that contract signing have at least something to do with getting him on the 40 and called up as he was going to be popped for violating the Minor League Drug Policy (THC, banned in the Minors but not the Majors)?
Good memory. I don't remember all the details, but that is discussed in the BBTF thread about the extension:

http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/newsstand/discussion/astros_singleton_create_sign_promote_model
   5. PreservedFish Posted: May 22, 2018 at 03:54 PM (#5677482)
I got into an argument with a friend of mine (that had drafted Singleton in a dynasty league). My position - which was stated in 2014 - was that any man that was both overweight at 22 and claimed to have a marijuana addiction clearly lacked the type of extreme ambition that most successful pro athletes share. I mean, marijuana addiction. Marijuana is not very addictive. That takes a special type of person.
   6. Nasty Nate Posted: May 22, 2018 at 03:54 PM (#5677484)
A post from that thread:
The Astros are not winning anything anytime soon unless they figure put how to get more talent into the organization.

I'm not quoting that to mock the poster, but to show how tough it is to predict MLB teams' success in the future. Part of the reason they did win soon afterwards is because of the rapid emergence of Correa, who was 19 and in A-ball at the time of that discussion.
   7. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 22, 2018 at 04:01 PM (#5677490)
It's always entertaining to read old threads. Especially ones on the Cubs and Astros and their rebuilds.

Houston has nine players on the MLB roster 24 years old or younger.

Intl. signing - Altuve (24)
Trade - Villar (23), Domingez (24), Grossman (24), Hoes (24), Cozart (24), Oberholtzer (24), Singleton (23)
Draft - Springer (24)

Six of those nine — and arguably the best six — were inherited from the last management. No more than three appear to project as above-average ML players.

And many more coming in next three years.

Minor League Pipeline
- Correa, Appel, Foltnewycz, McCullers, DeShields, Santana, and too many more to list here


If the Astros hit on every one of the above-listed players, which is highly unlikely, the Astros probably still aren't a playoff-caliber team.


and

The volume of young talent they've stock-piled is staggering.

That word. I don't think it means what you think it means.

Their talent pipeline is no better than KC's was 2-3 years ago, and look how that's turned out.


The Royals of course won the pennant that year and the WS the next, while the Astros were in playoffs the next year.

EDIT: I'm also not meaning to mock anyone, but anytime you state things with such certainty, you run the risk of looking foolish.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: May 22, 2018 at 04:54 PM (#5677537)
#6: Altuve turning into Morgan for a couple of years didn't hurt either.

#7: The first poster was largely correct. Altuve and Springer turned out above-average, Folty still has a chance, the others are all pretty forgettable. Out of the minor-league pipeline, they've gotten Correa (who should have been recognized as a potential star) and McCullers. DeShields and Santana turned out well enough but neither is on the Astros now. (Santana and Josh Hader for Fiers and Gomez is a deal that did not work out for the Astros; DeShields was lost in the rule 5).

It's certainly correct that we shouldn't be so quick to overlook that stuff happens -- Gary Sanchez emerges so the Yanks just want to move McCann who ages better than expected; Keuchel becomes a very good pitcher; Charlie Morton turns into Kershaw and Marwin Gonzalez turns into Lee Lacy; the owners are willing to pony up for Verlander -- so we (and I certainly mean me here not that it's likely to stop) should stop being so pessimistic.

In the case of the Astros (and maybe just me for the Cubs), "we" didn't expect the owners to come through with the cash when the team was ready.

Hard to say how I'd have felt at the time but in hindsight, the Astros were a better bet than the Royals for whatever that's worth.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: May 22, 2018 at 04:57 PM (#5677541)
Now a "legal" question ... Singleton is under the minor-league drug testing scheme. While suspended, he isn't paid. But if not on any roster then the suspension is not being served. I'm sure the MLB JDA either clarifies this (it actually probably doesn't) or it would be quickly decided by an arbiter in the player's favor ... but what's the financial situation for Singleton right now?
   10. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 22, 2018 at 05:09 PM (#5677555)
#7: The first poster was largely correct.


What they got wrong was they underestimated how transformative it is to have even a few of your prospects come through. Maybe only Altuve and Springer were above average from that first group - but just those two combined had more WAA than the Red Sox as a whole last year. And this is just nonsense:

If the Astros hit on every one of the above-listed players, which is highly unlikely, the Astros probably still aren't a playoff-caliber team.



If the Astros hit on each of those players, defined as becoming major-league average regulars, they'd be the best team in baseball.
   11. PreservedFish Posted: May 22, 2018 at 05:30 PM (#5677571)
What they got wrong was they underestimated how transformative it is to have even a few of your prospects come through. Maybe only Altuve and Springer were above average from that first group - but just those two combined had more WAA than the Red Sox as a whole last year.


I'm not sure. These guys didn't just "come through," they established HOF trajectories. But anyway, we can all name teams that had a few exceptional players that still sucked. The late 90s Mariners were a notable example. The Astros' quality is one part farm success, one part smartly deployed $$$, one part random good luck. Even Correa/Altuve/Springer/Bregman don't guarantee anything by themselves.
   12. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 22, 2018 at 05:42 PM (#5677579)

I got into an argument with a friend of mine (that had drafted Singleton in a dynasty league). My position - which was stated in 2014 - was that any man that was both overweight at 22 and claimed to have a marijuana addiction clearly lacked the type of extreme ambition that most successful pro athletes share. I mean, marijuana addiction. Marijuana is not very addictive. That takes a special type of person.

Right, seems like exactly the kind of guy you *don't* want to give a guaranteed $10 million to.
   13. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 22, 2018 at 05:47 PM (#5677583)
Bud Norris: "Sorry but this Singleton deal is terrible. Wish the Jon listened to the union and not his agent."

Mark Mulder: "Just saw contract this #astros prospect signed. Either he doesn't believe in himself to be great or he has a terrible agent who wants the 4%."

Jon Singleton: "Do you guys have any idea how much weed you can buy for 10 million dollars??"
   14. cardsfanboy Posted: May 22, 2018 at 05:58 PM (#5677591)
But anyway, we can all name teams that had a few exceptional players that still sucked.


Doesn't that list almost always start with the Cubs and Ernie Banks, Ron Santo and Billy Williams (and Lou Brock/Richie Ashburn some of those years--and Fergie Jenkins after Ernie was pretty much done)
   15. ptodd Posted: May 22, 2018 at 06:14 PM (#5677599)
Perhaps some young people cant handle the money at too early an age. Could this have contributed to his fall?

I prefer to keep young players motivated and hungry for a future payday. Early extensions not a good idea. Not sure Longoria would not have been a better player without the extension. Was still good but could he have been better if he had to play for that future payday?

At least 2 great years before the extension is my rule
   16. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: May 22, 2018 at 07:59 PM (#5677663)
Yeah, no, they still took advantage of him.
   17. puck Posted: May 22, 2018 at 08:01 PM (#5677666)
It seemed a very promising career after releasing Boyz N the Hood at age 23.
   18. Walt Davis Posted: May 22, 2018 at 08:11 PM (#5677673)
On Singleton -- yes, the understanding at the time was that he was given an ultimatum of take the deal or wait. I think at the time I said it looked like a pretty good deal for him (he looked pretty average-ish at best to me) and for the Astros (he obviously had some potential to be better than that). Both sides gambled, the expected outcome was probably about right, turns out Singleton won "big."

On marijuana addiction: it was years ago that I last read anything on it and I can imagine the science has moved on, but I recall reading that while it is generally non-addictive for the vast majority of people, it can be almost immediately addictive to people wired in certain ways. (I'm gliding over "physical" vs. "mental" addiction but my memory was that some people are instantly obsessed with it.) Or Singleton was just a spacey pot-head who couldn't think of anything better to do with his time.
   19. PreservedFish Posted: May 22, 2018 at 08:21 PM (#5677677)
Well, the second option is more fun to think about, at least.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: May 22, 2018 at 08:28 PM (#5677685)
#10: I completely agree that "if everybody hits" was a silly overstatement (I hope that wasn't me), at least if by "hit" we mean becomes useful as opposed to "makes the majors then disappears."

But back to the point -- Altuve and Springer (and Kuechel) were already in the organization, not a result of the tanking. And while it's true that A&S combinded for 9 WAA, replacing them with average players still puts the Astros at 92 wins, still winning the division and going who knows how far in the playoffs. Gonzalez, Marisnick, Gurriel and Reddick combined for about 6 WAA; McHugh, Morton and Verlander added another 3. Those are 9 wins above-average that nobody could have seen coming back then ... but we probably should recognize the probability of such things is too high to dismiss.

But sure, add the realistic upside of Correa and Springer and the 95th percentile outcome of Altuve to an average team and you've got a 95-win team. But that's probably no better than a 1 in 100 chance of all three hitting like that ... or maybe a 5 out of 100 chance if you take the system as a whole ... multiplied by whatever the probability is that the rest of the Astros would be an average team at the right time.

   21. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: May 22, 2018 at 10:13 PM (#5677780)
I remember reading something fifteen years ago—I want to say it was by Christina Kahrl, but i don’t remember the author as well as the quote—that the difference between teams that might actually break out and teams that just suck is a matter of if-or versus if-and. If your team has a chance, your optimistic fans are saying “if this prospect hits big OR if these relievers have good years OR the infield is healthy this year, we can be good.” Whereas fans of down-and-out teams always find themselves saying “if this prospect hits big AND these relievers have good years AND the infield is healthy...”
   22. Astroenteritis Posted: May 23, 2018 at 12:16 AM (#5677882)
In the case of the Astros (and maybe just me for the Cubs), "we" didn't expect the owners to come through with the cash when the team was ready.


One thing I can say is that I was one the few who expected the ownership to vastly increase the Houston payroll as the years went by. Of course when your payroll was as low as Houston's, there was lots of room for increasing. I'm happy I was right about that part, anyway. I also thought Mark Appel was going to be a frontline starter.
   23. Baldrick Posted: May 23, 2018 at 02:19 AM (#5677895)
The volume of young talent they've stock-piled is staggering.

That word. I don't think it means what you think it means.

Their talent pipeline is no better than KC's was 2-3 years ago, and look how that's turned out.

I love that I did not have to click on the link to decipher the person who wrote these words. Staying on brand, down through the years.
   24. bfan Posted: May 25, 2018 at 11:01 AM (#5679524)
On marijuana addiction: it was years ago that I last read anything on it and I can imagine the science has moved on, but I recall reading that while it is generally non-addictive for the vast majority of people, it can be almost immediately addictive to people wired in certain ways. (I'm gliding over "physical" vs. "mental" addiction but my memory was that some people are instantly obsessed with it.) Or Singleton was just a spacey pot-head who couldn't think of anything better to do with his time.


I would love to understand on what level it is addictive: "boy I feel good when I do that, so I want to do that more", or real physical shakes, with palms sweaty and all that.

It is kind of like sex addictions-those that claim them just have, I think, less ability to suppress compulsions than others. Did I use bad judgment in pursuing that opportunity for sex, against my better judgment? Why yes, I did. Does that get me to addict status? What is the standard-foolish? Really foolish?
   25. Greg Pope Posted: May 25, 2018 at 12:18 PM (#5679587)
One thing I can say is that I was one the few who expected the ownership to vastly increase the Houston payroll as the years went by.

We definitely had some people here saying with utmost certainty that the ownership (is it Jim Crane?) was so cheap that they would never spend anything on the team.

As was pointed out, plenty of people said that about the Cubs, too.

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