Monday, February 8, 2016

Singleton back at first base

Here's some bonus online minor-league coverage today:

Singleton back at first base

Jonathan Singleton is moving back to first base after playing left field at single-A Clearwater. (Elizabeth Robertson/Staff file photo)
Jonathan Singleton is moving back to first base after playing left field at single-A Clearwater. (Elizabeth Robertson/Staff file photo)

Here's some bonus online minor-league coverage today:

The biggest minor-league story of the day is that top prospect Jonathan Singleton is moving back to first base after playing left field this season at single-A Clearwater.

Singleton, after hitting .290 with 14 home runs and 77 RBIs as an 18-year-old at single-A Lakewood last season, was voted the best prospect in the South Atlantic League.

He played last season as a first baseman, but with Ryan Howard signed through 2016, the Phillies decided to take a look at Singleton in left field. It started with some pregame work in Lakewood during last season, continued in the Florida Instructional League in the fall and began in earnest with Clearwater this season.

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The Phillies, according to assistant general manager Chuck LaMar, learned two things during Singleton’s 44 games as a left fielder. One was that he can play the position and the other was that he preferred to play first base.

“When he came into spring training, he struggled from the very start,” LaMar said. “He also did not get off to a very good start in the Florida State League in Clearwater and it became clear to us that he wanted to go back to first base.”

LaMar said the Phillies are convinced that Singleton can play left field at the big-league level and added that he will play some left field again before this season is over. In the meantime, they're hoping he gets more comfortable at the plate by playing first base.

“For the near term, we want him to be thought of as a first baseman,” LaMar said.

Singleton, 19, was a designated hitter for the Threshers Friday night against St. Lucie. He went into the game hitting .260 with four doubles, three home runs and 18 RBIs. He had struck out 51 times in 150 at-bats, but also had walked 22 times, which helped account for his .356 on-base percentage.


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