Jon Singleton struggled in his first taste of the majors last season, but the 23-year-old first base prospect has been crushing Triple-A pitching this season and now the Astros are calling him up for a second go-around.
Singleton batted .168 with 134 strikeouts in 95 games as a rookie last year, which was bad enough to create concerns about his long-term potential after ranking among Baseball America’s top-100 prospects in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.
But it’s hard to argue with his Triple-A production this year, which includes hitting .280 with 17 homers, 17 doubles, and a .940 OPS in 70 games while drawing 47 walks compared to 60 strikeouts. Singleton also had similar numbers at Triple-A last season, so he absolutely deserves a chance to show that he’s better than the rookie ugliness.
It’s unclear how much action Singleton will see or how long he’ll stick with the Astros, because Evan Gattis and Chris Carter have been serving as Houston’s everyday designated hitter/first baseman duo.
For now he takes the roster spot of veteran reliever Chad Qualls, who was placed on the disabled list.
Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle reports that the Astros have placed closer Luke Gregerson on the family emergency medical list. To take his place on the roster, the Astros promoted Asher Wojciechowski from Triple-A Fresno. Chad Qualls will serve as the Astros’ interim closer.
Gregerson, 30, has converted seven saves in eight opportunities with a 2.57 ERA and an 11/2 K/BB ratio in 14 innings. He signed with the Astros on a three-year, $18.5 million contract as a free agent back in December.
Wojciechowski, 26, allowed 13 runs on 23 hits and seven walks with 16 strikeouts in 16 innings over three starts and one relief appearance.
The Rangers handed the Astros their first loss since April 22 tonight with a 2-1 comeback victory at Minute Maid Park. The loss snaps Houston’s winning streak at 10 games.
The Astros had the early lead in this one, as Evan Gattis hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first inning. Dallas Keuchel held the Rangers scoreless over the first seven innings — and even struck out seven batters in a row at one point — but Jake Smolinski tied the game in the eighth with an RBI single while Robinson Chirinos drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly off Chad Qualls in the ninth.
Houston’s offense has been on a tear of late, but Ross Detwiler held them in check tonight by allowing just one run on four hits and two walks while striking out seven. Neftali Feliz struck out two in a scoreless ninth inning for his third save of the season.
Despite the loss, the Astros still own the best record in the American League at 18-8.
Angels outfielder Mike Trout’s sixth-inning two-run home run off of Astros starter Roberto Hernandez was the 100th of the 23-year-old’s brief career. Now with triple digits in homers and in stolen bases (104), Trout has become the youngest to join the 100/100 club, eclipsing — who else? — Alex Rodriguez, as Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register notes. Trout is 23 years and 253 days old. Rodriguez was 23 years old and 309 days old at the time.
Trout has, as expected, been performing at the plate, coming into the night with a .438/.500/.594 triple-slash line with one home run, four RBI, and two stolen bases. The defending American League MVP, Trout accrued 28.2 Wins Above Replacement through the 2014 season (his age-22 season) according to Baseball Reference. Through Rodriguez’s age-22 season, he had compiled 22.9 WAR.
Update (10:40 PM EST): Trout, like Rodriguez, has also homered twice tonight. Trout added a three-run home run in the eighth inning off of Chad Qualls.