George Springer's phone-a-friend changes everything for the Houston Astros. Again.
With the Astros set to call up left-handed hitting first baseman Jon Singleton — the best slugging prospect not named Springer in the organization — for Tuesday night's home game against the Anaheim Angels, Houston's much-maligned baseball franchise suddenly features an abundance of one of the most prized commodities in the game today: Young power.
In the post steroids (or at least post over-the-top, rampant steroids) era, real power is hard to come by. There's a scarcity of big home run hitters.
But the Astros suddenly have two young, legitimate 30-plus home run threats in their everyday lineup. In another day and age, Springer and Singleton would be gracing bedroom wall posters, glaring out menacingly while holding oversized bats and sporting cool shades. George Springer and Jon Singleton are not Jose Cancesco and Mark McGwire. But they're the closest thing to a new-age Bash Brothers that Major League Baseball may see for a while.
In another day and age, Springer and Singleton would be gracing bedroom wall posters, glaring menacingly while holding big bats.
Springer hit 10 home runs in just May for the Astros. While Singleton isn't on the Springer superstar talent plane, the 6-foot-2 first baseman does have 14 home runs in only 54 games for Oklahoma City this season.
He's another real threat in a lineup that suddenly has three players any Major League franchise would covet (Springer, Singleton and second baseman Jose Altuve). He's another real reason to go to Minute Maid Park.
Singleton arrives fresh off signing a $35 million contract that guarantees him $10 million before he ever played a Major League game. It also puts him under the Astros control until he is 30 years old, no small coup for general manager Jeff Luhnow. (Yahoo Sports Jeff Passan first broke the news of the deal.)
There are risks with Jon Singleton. He's been open about his marijuana addiction, calling himself "a drug addict" at one point. He's already been suspended once (earning a 50-game ban) for violating MLB's drug policy. He's admitted to struggling with alcohol as well.
But, in the big scheme of baseball money, a $10 million gamble on a potential difference-making left-handed hitter is nothing.
Major League Baseball is bound to catch up with the rest of America and start looking at marijuana in a less harsher light eventually. Luhnow also clearly carries some belief in Singleton's character.
There are wild risks. And then are risks you need to take. Jon Singleton is a risk the Astros unquestionably need to jump at.
The Jon Singleton Risk
Young power is too precious to turn your back on. It's not hard to imagine Springer and Singleton emerging as one of the most feared duos in the game in a few years. Springer's already winning games for the Astros with one swing (see that seventh inning home run that grounded the Orioles). Now, he has a Bash Buddy.
In the coming years, it's easy to imagine one of these guys flirting with a 50 home run season. Part of the fun will be seeing which one does it.
They might not get some corny poster out of the whole thing. But that doesn't mean they can't posterize a few teams.
Springer only has six weeks of Major League experience on Singleton, but he is undoubtedly the more grounded, mature player. It's on Springer to help shepherd his Bash Brother into this new professional baseball world as well. That may sound unfair. But it's part of being the budding superstar.
If you've spent any time around the loving-life Springer, you know this 24-year-old is likely up to the task. Jon Singleton will benefit from Springer having come up before him. Springer's star turn has sucked up a lot of the pressure.
Singleton can just come up and mash.
Real power is such a scare commodity in baseball today. Now the Astros don't just have one. They've got two.
George Springer and Jon Singleton. The new Bash Brothers. They might not get some corny poster out of the whole thing. But that doesn't mean they can't posterize a few teams.