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Texas League All-Star Interview: Jon Singleton

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‘Player Zero’ of Houston’s historical rebuild is not to be forgotten

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Things are certainly looking swell for the Houston Astros. Jeff Luhnow’s ambitious rebuild (which went something like this) has payed off with flying orange colors and as of this writing (July 3rd), the Astros 56 wins is the best in all of baseball.

Almost exactly six years ago, Hunter Pence was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in a package headlined by first baseman Jon Singleton. Unfortunately, Singleton hasn’t become the impact player as imagined, but there’s still time.

The depth chart in Houston --especially in the field— is absolutely loaded with talent and there’s hardly any room for new manpower. However, first base remains somewhat open. A.J. Reed hasn’t taken the job and Yuli Gurriel is new to the position.

Singleton currently mans first for Double-A Corpus Christi, returning to the level for the first time since 2013. Still just 25, he appears to me as someone playing with a chip on the shoulder, but one that’s not weighing him down.

As he says, baseball is the love of his life. And there’s still plenty of reason to believe in his big league future. Let’s talk to him.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Hey Now, You’re an All-Star!

“It’s definitely great, you know, with all the festivities. So far it’s been pretty cool. We had the gala last night which was fun. We’re all having a good time.”

Who’s on First (Base)? First base still unresolved long-term in Houston, is that motivation?

“Oh yeah, without a doubt. They’re playing good baseball right now so it’s fun to watch. I’m just trying to get better at what I can do everyday and continue to be more and more consistent.”

The historical rebuild started with you (and the 2011 Hunter Pence trade)

“It’s a great feeling. Once again, they’re playing great baseball since the start of the season. There’s been a lot of moves throughout the organization and with other teams, stuff like that, so it’s good to see the entire organization do well and be successful.”

Controversial first contract (as scrutinized by former Astro Bud Norris)

“At the time I got the phone call with the offer, I was pretty excited about it. It took me a while, I thought about it for a whole day. The biggest thing that I was thinking about is that nothing in life is guaranteed, especially in baseball, nothing with baseball is guaranteed, either. So why not take this chance? It’s an opportunity for me to help my family out and to put me in a better position, so i took the opportunity.”

Youth Movement

“It’s great (to see). I actually played with Springer at this level (Double-A), Triple-A and the big leagues. He’s gotten a lot better. He’s always been a great baseball player but he’s kind of fine-tuned his skills and now he’s an All-Star. It’s great to be around those guys.” (At the time of the interview, Springer hadn’t officially been voted an All-Star. Turns out Singleton was right on the money.)

Amidst all the trades and roster shake-ups, you’re still an Astro. Does that mean anything to you?

“Yeah, to an extent. I like the fact that I haven’t moved organizations, it’s always tough when you move organizations. It can also be nice, though, because there’s new scenery and new personnel to get used to and stuff like that. But I’m happy about it. I actually have a house in Houston so it worked out for the better.”

The future is still very bright for Jon Singleton

“You got to keep fighting. Baseball is the love of my life. For me to come out here and do this everyday, it’s just something I love to do. You just gotta come out and play hard every day.”