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RedHawks' Singleton sets sights on present

Astros' No. 4 prospect goes yard, leads Minor Leagues with 23 RBIs
April 20, 2014

A year ago, Jon Singleton struggled. Now, speculation is swirling about when he will make his Major League debut. While he can nothing to control the latter, he's done everything to put the former behind him.

The Astros' No. 4 prospect slugged his Pacific Coast League-leading seventh homer, a three-run blast that helped power Triple-A Oklahoma City to a 6-2 victory at Memphis on Saturday night.

Singleton provided the game's big blow when he launched a 2-1 pitch from Redbirds reliever Lee Stoppelman over the right-field wall at AutoZone Park to extend the RedHawks' advantage to 5-0. The night proved a little different at the outset for Singleton, though the results were similar.

"Today was a little different," he said. "It's a travel day and we just got into the ballpark. At the plate, Ariel Castro beat me in a little bit, but the third at-bat, I settled in and tried to stick to my game plan and just put a good swing on the ball."

After slugging seven homers in 73 PCL games -- and 11 overall -- last season, Singleton has six in his last 10 games.

"Just seeing the ball, trying to mark hard contact and not do too much more than that," Singleton said. "Just going out there and trying to have fun. That's the biggest goal, not putting too much pressure on myself to do too much. I just want to go out and play hard and leave everything on the field and let the results speak for themselves."

The results have been a Minor League-leading 23 RBIs, more than half of last season's total of 44.

With Astros' No. 2 prospect George Springer moving up to the big leagues earlier this week, speculation has focused on when Singleton might join his former teammate in Houston. The 22-year-old first baseman is focused instead on his revitalization.

"I really don't focus on it too much," Singleton said. "I just want to go out there and play ball and play the game I love to play."

RedHawks starter Rudy Owens improved to 2-0 after tossing five hitless innings. The only batter to reach against the 26-year-old left-hander came in the second on third baseman Gregorio Petit's error.

"He did great," Singleton said. "He was using the entire plate, pitching in and pitching out, using his breaking ball and off-speed pitches well. He gave our offense a chance to score and keep the lead."

Michael Foltynewicz, the Astros' eighth-ranked prospect, followed Owens and allowed two runs on five hits over three innings.

Ronald Torreyes was 3-for-4 with two RBIs, while Domingo Santana doubled home a run for Oklahoma City.

Oscar Taveras, the Cardinals' top prospect, hit a solo homer, his third, for the Redbirds.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @RobertEmrich.