Born: 9/18/1991 in Lakewood, California
Over the past several years the Phillies scouting team has done an excellent job producing first-round talent in the later rounds of the draft. Dominic Brown (Round 20, 2006) and Michael Taylor (Round 5, 2007) both look like upper-echelon talents now despite being passed over for several rounds when they were drafted. It looks like the Phillies might have struck gold again with Singleton, a big body with great power who slipped deep into the draft. The Phils picked Singleton No. 257 overall in the 8th round this June, and since signing just over two weeks ago he has been tearing up the Gulf Coast League.
Singleton, a first baseman who many scouts say is cut from the Ryan Howard mold, starred at Millikan High in Long Beach, CA, where he hit .321 (26-for-81) with 30 walks and 10 extra-base hits last season. He also stole 9 bases without being caught. While Singleton was at Millikan he spent three years working out at MLB’s Urban Youth Academy in nearby Compton, where he took instruction from former stars like Rod Carew and Frank Robinson and became friends with Lakewood’s Anthony Gose.
At just 17 Singleton is far from his physical peak, but is already well on the way toward reaching Howard’s size and stature. He bats from the left side and has excellent bat speed through the zone. A long swing could need a slight correction, but Singleton gets the bat head through the zone quickly to make up for any deficiency in his path to the ball. He has a very lean, muscular build that helps him to get behind the ball and drive it. According to scouts – and Singleton himself – he had to slow down his game to match his high school competition, meaning his power did not show to its full extent. Since he arrived with the GCL Phils, though, he has been showcasing the skills that had him projected as an early-round pick.
In his first game in rookie ball Singleton went 3-for-3 with a double and 2 RBI, then went on to hit in 8 straight games. His line of .414(avg)/.486(obp)/.934(ops) thus far might have him moving up to A-ball before the season is out. And at age 17, that makes him a player to watch.
He is not a great defensive player and will need to improve his footwork around the bag to make himself into a professional first baseman. But with a strong physique and room to fill out, Singleton’s work at the dish could make him a very high-upside player. By the time these rankings are adjusted it’s likely he will already have moved into the teens.
For some more insight into Singleton, check out this ESPN piece that includes an interview and some highlights.
Year Level G AB R H RBI BB K AVG OBP SLG OPS
2009 ROOK 10 29 4 12 4 5 4 .414 .486 .448 .934
24. Jonathan Singleton, 1B
25. Drew Naylor, RHP