The plan for Jonathan Singleton is to reach Triple-A in less than two weeks. And the results indicate he's ready for the challenge.
The Astros' top prospect homered for the third time in as many games since returning from a 50-game suspension Friday night, helping Class A Quad Cities pull out a 6-3, 14-inning victory at Beloit.
Singleton is 5-for-11 with three homers and two doubles after missing time for testing positive for marijuana. On Friday, he got a fastball over the heart of the plate from reliever Brent Powers in the 14th inning and sent it over the right-center field fence. The two-run shot snapped a 1-1 tie.
"I was just trying to put a good swing on it and I ended up hitting it pretty hard," Singleton said.
To call this week a return to game action isn't entirely fair. Singleton had been toiling in extended spring training while serving the suspension, playing games six days a week. The competition wasn't what he's seeing in the Midwest League, but he was still able to maintain his powerful left-handed swing and improve his defense at first base.
"It is a bit of a transition from Spring Training to up here," Singleton said. "It's always different when you're playing under the lights and always fun."
MLB.com's No. 25 overall prospect, Singleton is slated to play three more games with Quad Cities before returning to Double-A Corpus Christi. After six games in the Texas League, he'll move up to Triple-A Oklahoma City, which is where he was supposed to start the season before being handed the suspension.
The 21-year-old first baseman played 131 games at Corpus Christi last season, hitting .284 with 21 homers, 79 RBIs and an .893 OPS. He added 27 doubles while establishing himself as one of the game's top offensive prospects.
When Singleton connected in the 14th, he did so with Astros No. 2 prospect Carlos Correa at first. Correa, last year's No. 1 overall Draft pick, had three hits to raise his average to .292 after a subpar April. The 18-year-old shortstop batted .338 in May while raising his on-base percentage to .404 and OPS to .826.
Singleton, for one, has been impressed by the Puerto Rico native's talents and maturity.
"He's a good ballplayer and he plays hard every night," Singleton said. "He's just starting out, and you always want to go out and never leave a game out there."
A's No. 10 prospect Raul Alcantara started for Beloit, striking out nine and allowing a run on five hits over eight innings. The 20-year-old right-hander dropped his ERA to 2.94 and improved his strikeout-to-walk ratio to 45-to-6.