Cleat Geeks

Orange Juice; 1st Baseman

1024x1024It has been reported that starting first baseman and DH Evan Gattis will miss four-to-six weeks after undergoing hernia surgery, making the battle at first base one of the biggest battles coming into Spring Training. Bringing me to the question, is the starting position at first base Jon Singleton‘s job to lose? The 24-year-old is coming off a minor league season in which he had a .254 batting average, .359 on-base percentage, .505 slugging percentage and 22 homers at AAA Fresno, making him the front-runner for the starting job in my opinion. Now with that being said, I do believe that Singleton has a bit to prove after batting just .171 over two major league seasons, but with him having an on-base percentage of .290 shows me he has a pretty good understanding of the strike zone.

Here’s what Manager A.J. Hinch had to say about the young talent.

“Big fella,” Hinch said. “He’s strong, and you know he knows what’s in front of him. I haven’t spent a ton of time with him on the baseball side of things, but showing up in camp, he’s obviously put some time in the gym. He’s very aware of what his situation is. And you know, there’s a seriousness to him. There should be a comfort with him having been in camp last year with me and the coaches. But also, knowing the first-base job is up for grabs – I’m sure he’ll be as focused as needed.”

Jon Singleton has been a gym rat this off-season to say the least, gaining a total of 25 pounds, 17 of which being muscle. Singleton spent the off-season training at The Next Level Fitness, owned by former Rice RB Cederick Johnson. Johnson is well-known in Houston and he has high hopes for the young Singleton, here’s what Johnson had to say about Singleton’s off-season.

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“He’s gained a little weight, but it’s muscle,” said Johnson. “A lot of individual work, a lot of explosive work and a lot of strength work.

“He’d go to the batting cages first, and after he’d leave the batting cages, he’d come work out with me. We did lots of lower body work, lots of upper body work – kept his flexibility. And it should show.”

Singleton describes this spring as a big opportunity. “New opportunity, to say the least” , said Singleton.

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