Astros lock up prospect Singleton

 

The Sports Network

Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - When Jon Singleton makes his major league debut on Tuesday, he'll be doing so with a new contract in hand.

The Houston Astros announced Monday that the team has agreed to terms on an unprecedented five-year contract with the promising first baseman that also includes three club options for the 2019-21 seasons.

Singleton, rated by MLB.com as the Astros' third-best prospect behind only former No. 1 overall picks Carlos Correa and Mark Appel, also will be recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City prior to Houston's game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Yahoo! Sports reported Monday that the deal is worth a guaranteed $10 million and holds a maximum value of $35 million.

It's the first of its kind for a player that has yet to accrue any service time in the majors.

"Jon is one of the rising young power hitters in baseball, who has had a terrific first two months this year at Triple A," said Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow. "He is a big part of our future here in Houston, and this contract ensures that he will be an Astro for many years to come."

Singleton currently ranks fourth in the Pacific Coast League with 14 home runs and is batting .267 with 43 RBI and a .397 on-base percentage in 54 games at Oklahoma City. MLB.com ranked him the top first baseman in the minors entering the 2013 campaign.

The 22-year-old was acquired from the Phillies organization in July of 2011 as part of a trade that sent outfielder Hunter Pence to Philadelphia. The Astros also received major league contributors Jarred Cosart and Josh Zeid in the swap.

Singleton's 2012 season was marred by a 50-game suspension for a violation of Minor League Baseball's drug policy, which he later admitted was for marijuana use. He struggled in Triple A after returning from the ban, hitting just .220 with six homers and 31 RBI over 73 games.

"He has worked hard to overcome adversity in the past couple of years and demonstrated to the organization that he is ready to contribute to a winning team in the major leagues," stated Luhnow.

Singleton will immediately take over as Houston's regular first baseman, a position that the team has struggled to get production out of this season. Astros' first basemen have hit a lowly .181 with five homers and 13 RBI.

Marc Krauss, who has made 28 starts at first base, was optioned to Oklahoma City to make room for Singleton on the active roster. The 26-year-old owns a .173 average in 39 games.

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