Jon Singleton’s Understandable Leap

For the Astros, Jon Singleton can be bad, and better than what the team has been running out there. To date, Astros first basemen have combined to be worth -1.0 WAR, worst in baseball by most of a win. No, the same players don’t project to be that bad going forward, but they certainly don’t project well, and Singleton’s promotion has been a while coming. The platoon that’s played was always intended to be a placeholder, and the place no longer needs to be held.

Yet the Astros don’t just hope for Singleton to be tolerably mediocre. He’s one of their top prospects, maybe a tier below George Springer, and he’s 22 years old until September. Most significantly, Singleton has had a huge campaign in Triple-A after struggling through a difficult and sometimes miserable 2013. Singleton’s made a leap forward, and this one is seemingly pretty easy to explain. That also makes it easy to buy into.

I don’t want to get into the politics of marijuana, but I think it’s safe to say that, earlier, Singleton was more than just a casual smoker. What he was going through got him suspended and sent to rehab, and while you might or might not be a believer in the idea of weed addiction, Singleton was definitely preoccupied and not taking the best possible care of his body or career. Then, upon Singleton’s return from suspension, observers remarked that he looked lethargic and out of shape. He was bad in his first exposure to Triple-A, but from the above linked article:

Last season, when he made his debut in Triple-A after stopovers in low Class A and Double-A following his suspension, he struggled. He hit just .220 in 73 games, and his demons resurfaced.

“I went through some slight anxiety, some depression because I wasn’t being successful,” he said. “That was definitely difficult, and that drove me to drink.”

He admits to abusing alcohol as a substitute for marijuana, getting drunk almost every day and “waking up hung over every morning.”

Certainly, lots of baseball players drink. Certainly, this might be reaching for too easy of an explanation. Certainly, troubled players are gambles, because they can never be considered truly reliable. But I think it stands to reason drinking heavily would affect one’s performance against high-level competition. And I think it stands to reason cutting out that behavior could pay some significant dividends. Singleton has always had wonderful talent. For a few months, now, he’s finally been able to try to harness that talent without other habits on his mind. He’s by no means in the clear for the rest of his life, but right now he profiles as an excellent hitter who’s living a clean life.

What’s the stuff we can put statistics to, instead of just pointing to improved overall numbers? One criticism of Singleton has been that he struggled to do very much damage against lefties. It’s not an uncommon problem, but it’s a big problem for a bat-first first baseman. Singleton, in 2014, has done more than ever, against the best pitchers he’s seen. A table of his numbers against southpaws:

Year PA wOBA K% Level
2011 184 0.307 25% A+
2012 139 0.334 26% AA
2013 120 0.277 40% AA/AAA
2014 77 0.383 20% AAA

Singleton’s always been fairly good against righties, if not better than that, but this year he’s started to erase his giant platoon split. Which means he’s reduced a major vulnerability, carrying over a trend that began last winter in Puerto Rico. Assuming Singleton won’t end up a reverse-platoon sort, he’s always going to be worse against lefties than righties, but if he can keep from being exposed against lefties, then he’ll be able to stay in the lineup every day. And that’s how a guy can become a valuable first baseman.

And there’s another thing. Let’s look at a couple spray charts, from MLB Farm. The first shows where Singleton put the ball in 2013. The second shows where he’s put the ball in 2014.



In theory, you want a guy to use the whole field. This season, though, Singleton has lifted his numbers while simultaneously becoming extremely pull-heavy. He’s always hit most of his homers to right, but this year he’s been pulling everything, getting the bat ahead of the ball and almost entirely avoiding the other half of the field of play.

Some numbers, from StatCorner. After the year, you’ll see Singleton’s rate of pulled fly balls. Then you’ll see the league average, then you’ll see Singleton’s rate of homers per outfield fly.

Year Pulled FB% League% HR/OF%
2010 46% 47% 9.9%
2011 42% 47% 7.9%
2012 40% 47% 12%
2013 53% 46% 10%
2014 65% 45% 19%

Singleton’s been hitting for more power than ever, because he’s been pulling the ball more than ever, and it’s easiest to hit dingers to the pull side when you can maximize your bat speed. He’s hit two of every three fly balls to right or right-center, where the typical lefty comes in under half. In this way, Singleton has been hunting for pitches to yank, and he was successfully yanking them in Triple-A for the first time.

There are some valid concerns. Singleton has reportedly improved in the field, but he’s still not amazing, and he’ll always be a first baseman or a DH. He doesn’t make a high degree of contact, so he’ll forever be strikeout-prone. One wonders if the pull-heavy approach will be taken advantage of in the majors, as pitchers try to work him outside over and over again. And there’s always going to be the worry of addiction and addictive behavior. Singleton’s personal issues are more significant than most, and there’s the possibility of additional career derailment. It sounds cold to spell it out like that, but it’s the truth, and every party involved is aware of it. That could in part explain why Singleton was willing to take a long-term contract many have already criticized as being too cheap.

But this is a good prospect who’s still young and who has gotten himself back on track. He’s earned his way to the major leagues, by reducing his weaknesses against lefties and by punishing a greater rate of pitches, mostly to the pull side. We’ll see how Singleton does in the majors, and we’ll see how he does after pitchers identify potential holes, but now we can say he’s done what he’s had to do in the minors. Baseball at every level is about sinking or swimming, and now Singleton is diving into the deepest end. So far, it’s been a year of passing tests.

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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

78 Responses to “Jon Singleton’s Understandable Leap”

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  1. Tim Lincecum says:

    Thanks for laying it out Jeff. Even if it meant being blunt.

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  2. Well-Beered Englishman says:

    If I may step in and clear up some misconceptions from the previous Singleton post.

    Marijuana addiction is a real problem, not a myth. It’s not something potheads made up. You can click here to learn about cannabis dependency:

    Some cases are people who need, or think they need, it mentally. In a very small number of cases, physical dependency does develop. There are documented cases of marijuana addicts experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

    An organization called Marijuana Anonymous serves a similar purpose to AA, and you can find them with a simple Google search. They even have a mobile app to help you find your nearest meeting. (By the way, similar to AA, the Marijuana Anonymous group has twelve steps, and several are religious in nature.)

    For an engrossing fictional account of a character addicted to marijuana, read David Foster Wallace’s novel Infinite Jest, or at least read the two or three pertinent chapters, since the book is 1000+ pages long.

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    • Well-Beered Englishman says:

      P.S. I have only tried marijuana once and am not claiming to be an expert, only a concerned citizen. My drug of choice is listed in my username.

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    • wow says:

      This is so wildly misguided I don’t even know where to begin.

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      • wowow says:

        Well, you could start by laying out why he’s misguided instead of wildly accusing him of such

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      • Cheech says:

        Tell me about it, man

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      • frivoflava29 says:

        Uh, dependence is very real, although not something everyone needs help for or something that causes particularly strenuous issues. But I mean, come on, if you can build tolerance then of course you can become dependent. You can overdose too! Although it’s pretty inconceivable.

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    • ALEastbound says:

      You lost me at “fictional” tale

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      • Well-Beered Englishman says:

        Believe it or not, many fictional tales describe real things, such as addictions, disorders, places, events, or people. Infinite Jest also has a subplot about tennis, another thing the author did not make up.

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      • Jerr y Garcia says:

        Fictional tales can have a lot of truth in them, you just need to unlock your mind.

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      • Adam says:

        As someone who has struggled with this, and read Infinite Jest, I can say the description this guy is alluding to is amazing accurate.

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    • ThingsMoreAddictivethanPot says:

      Would you say, WBE, that “marijuana addiction” is a bigger or smaller problem than homosexuality or the female orgasm? Certainly, we would never think to compare it with something so profoundly debilitating and wrong as miscegenation.

      I don’t think you mean any harm, WBE, but you’re propping up lies that have destroyed families, ended careers and sent people to jail. A person of sufficient vulnerability and need can become “dependent” on almost anything. Singling out marijuana as if it’s transcendentally dangerous is enforcing ignorance.

      Wallace, as was commonly the case, could pontificate about all sorts of things he knew nothing about. His article for the Atlantic, Host, in which he talks about how difficult talk radio is, is so laughably wrong, yet so strident in its rectitude, you’d think Wallace’s hero C.S. Lewis had written it.

      Guy was brilliant–and could write! His fictionalization of “marijuana addiction” is foolish, and will age very, very poorly.

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      • Bats Left, Throws Right says:

        I really think you’re putting words in his mouth.

        “A person of sufficient vulnerability and need can become ‘dependent’ on almost anything.”

        Right. Yet according to so many self-proclaimed experts you can not become dependent on cannabis. It’s insulting to equate people who dispute this with people worried about sex. He didn’t single it out for being transcendentally dangerous, and for all we know he thinks it should be completely legalized. I do and I agree with everything in his post.

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        • ThingsMoreAddictivethanPot says:

          He’s using as a way to justify his stance that marijuana can be physically addictive, a resource infamous for it’s prejudicial and quickly outmoded definitions of “mentally ill.” So I went ahead and put a thumb in the eye of said quackery by pointing out some the more embarrassing episodes in the quest to codify all abnormalities as mental illness.

          It staggers me that people cannot see the next phrenology when it’s staring them in the face. Deviating from the sterling example set by 50’s era Ronald Regan does not mark someone as sick, and if ever such an accounting could be made, I would savor an accurate measure of how many lives have been helped versus harmed by our half-bright meddling in matters of the mind.

          As for the highly dubious assertion that some people can be physically addicted to marijuana, well, before malarkey is totally disproved and done away with, it often grasps to the thinnest of straws–statistical outliers, bad process, con-men and anyone else that can back up an otherwise indefensible position.

          When I finished reading Tortilla Flat some months ago, I went through some kind of withdrawal, likely (given that we are not Espers) involving physical symptoms. The brain, after all, is a physical organ (as opposed to?) I put TF down knowing never again would I enjoy such simple and beautiful writing, that Big Joe Portagee and Danny and Pilon and Pablo were effectively dead, and I could never again share their modest, beatific lives.

          If I could, man, I would do a lot of crazy things to get a proper sequel.

          But illness, physical dependency … people understand that alcohol kills some millions of people every year, and that some significant portion of that is from withdrawal, right?

          Why muddy the water? It’s as if a pop gun and a Howitzer are sitting side by side, and some are saying the Howitzer is more deadly, and others are responding, “Yes, but they are both weapons.”

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        • Tracy Mcgrady says:

          It’s an addictive substance. It’s most definitely less addictive than other substances, but it is not nonaddictive. There was a Lancet article a while back which stated that Marijuana was 1.51 on the 0 – 3 addiction scale. For reference alcohol was 1.93.

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      • Joe says:

        DFW was basically writing from his own experience as a person with a history of substance abuse problems.

        Accepting that is possible for people to become negatively dependant on marijuana does not threaten marijuana legalization or even paint it in anyway a bad thing. If there is one person out there who gets high in situations that negative effect their life, and they can not/will not stop doing that, then addiction is possible. Rather than denying that they might have a problem, lets try to help them out.

        Denying that its POSSIBLE for anyone to have marijuana problem is just as stupid as claiming marijuana is some dangerous thing that ruins society.

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        • ThingsMoreAddictivethanPot says:

          I am not denying someone could have a problem and choose to act out that problem through use or even dependence on marijuana. I am denying that marijuana is the problem. This is an essential distinction, and not to be mordant, but I think we can agree that Wallace’s problem(s) did not end when he got off the pot.

          This conflation of marijuana with other drugs, it’s dangerous, very very dangerous.

          A healthy person faces virtually no danger from marijuana. An unhealthy person can abuse almost anything. A healthy person faces great danger from something like heroin or meth. It doesn’t need to be abused, simple use is abuse. A person can literally become addicted to heroin, for instance, by being assaulted with a needle and dosed. Apart from that terrible crime, they might be Joe Orthodox of the finest most morally upright Western stock. And when they crave, it won’t matter one bit.

          This isn’t a subtle difference. There are literally thousands of drug addicts, people addicted to pain killers, that got their start with a doctor’s prescription. I’ve known a few. And millions more alcoholics, I’ve known a few of those too, and have witnessed what withdrawals are actually like. Show me the pothead wrestling against her restraints, confused and on seizure watch, because she hasn’t smoked in a few days.

          I am not sure if people are just being argumentative, if it’s ignorance, or what have you, but there is zero meaningful comparison between the supposed physically addictive qualities of pot, and the can-kill-you physically addictive qualities of alcohol, opiates, etc.

          Grouping them together because of prejudice come culture wars, and grasping at straws to defend this position, it’s not just wrong, it hurts mankind.

          It trivializes real addiction.

          It reenforces the belief that once someone has used marijuana, all other so-called elicit drugs are not such a big leap (compare, for instance, your average gin drinker. He’s not thinking, well this gin is a “gateway drug,” and since I’ve dabbled in this “drinking,” I might as well tweak, roll and snoot.)

          And it makes people undeniably in the right and on the side of history, pot users and distributors, criminals. It indirectly seizes their assets, denies them financial aid, and even puts them in maximum security prison.

          Every great societal change is first accomplished in the minds of the people. This weaselly, pseudo-scientific, reductionist, and regressive final assault on marijuana, if only in the public discourse, very much is ruining lives.

          I would think twice about just how important winning this argument is. Is it enough to parse words and look for loopholes in logic, when the truth, good and liberating, is staring us all in the face?

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        • Paul says:

          It still seems like you are arguing against something that Well-Beered Englishmen is not saying. Just because marijuana is not as addictive as something else does not make it not addictive. Caffeine is addictive, but it’s legal and not really seen as a problem nationwide. Marijuana could be seen as the same; addictive but not on the level of heroin or even alcohol.

          Someone can be against the ability of everyday citizens owning tanks and still believe in their right to own a handgun. Someone can also think the adictive drug heroin should be illegal and the also potentially adictive drug marijuana should be legal.

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        • hefe says:

          “Marijuana addiction is a real problem, not a myth.”
          “I am not denying someone could have a problem and choose to act out that problem through use or even dependence on marijuana. I am denying that marijuana is the problem.”
          -Things More Addictive than Pot
          “It still seems like you are arguing against something that Well-Beered Englishmen is not saying. Just because marijuana is not as addictive as something else does not make it not addictive.”

          To recap, WBE said that marijuana addiction is a real problem; TMATP said that when people are addicted to marijuana, it’s not because of the marijuana, it’s because of their own problems with addiction; and Paul said that TMATP was putting words in WBE’s mouth.

          I agree with TMATP. Pot may be mildly addictive for a very small subset of people; for the vast majority of sufferers of pot addiction, the problem is not pot, but their psychology and need to be dependent on something (a need which just as well may be filled by anything fun and a little dangerous). To make a point of saying “X is addictive” implies a higher level of addictiveness than just being a little fun; it implies the property of causing dependence, which is mostly restricted to things like nicotine, heroin, alcohol, etc. Pot’s level of addictiveness is vastly less than many of the substances and activities we tolerate with little or no restriction in our society, like video games, alcohol, and sex, and yet we say that “weed is addictive” but not that “video games are addictive”. That overstatement of weed’s addictive properties provides ammo/fuel for efforts to keep it illegal, and that’s bad.

          No disrespect intended to any of the participants in this very fine and civil discourse.

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    • sunrise089 says:

      I generally love your posts Mr. Englishman, but while physical drug dependency is of course a very real thing, “Cannabis dependency” seems like what I’d call “lack of self-control.”

      I read your link, and from what I gather as many as 1/5 daily marijuana users become dependent. But considering the legal and social ramifications of routine drug use, that 20% number is probably consistent with many other types of borderline behavior that some people find tough to quit – driving too fast, playing too many video games, or spending too much time watching baseball. I understand these sort of things may be technically diagnosed as some sort of condition, since they do occur, but in the absence of chemical factors I don’t have much sympathy for the guy who can’t stop smoking weed because smoking weed is so darn nice, and more than the guy who turns in his term paper late because it was so fun having that last round of Call of Duty with his friends.

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      • Thomas says:

        Isn’t any addiction just about “lack of self-control”? The DSM-IV says that alcoholism is, more or less, the inability to stop drinking even when it has gotten to the point that you are aware it is harming other aspects of your life — work, interpersonal relationships, hobbies, etc. Looks a lot like lack of self-control to me.

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        • Thomas says:

          Which isn’t, of course, to diminish alcoholism and addiction. It is merely to say “addiction” is a surprisingly difficult-to-parse term, especially when we’re out of the realm of supremely physically addicting things.

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        • RotoworldModsAreNazis says:

          No. You are wrong. Chemical dependency goes far beyond “lack of self control”. Why do you think people who want to quit smoking can not? Their physical bodies have adapted to having the toxin around all of the time, and when the toxin is withdrawn, a PHYSICAL reaction occurs. In this case, it has little to do with “lack of self control”. You should visit a rehab center sometime and see what the heroin addicts go through and THEN try to say that addiction is simply “lack of self control”.

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        • Tracy Mcgrady says:

          Okay Mr. BlackandWhite Absolutist.

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        • Thomas says:

          @RotoworldModsAreNazis: I think you missed my second comment about physical addiction and respect for the seriousness of addiction.

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        • Thomas says:

          Ah, I realize my first post was more flip than I realized — definitely overstated with that opening line.

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        • sunrise089 says:

          I appreciate that you have a more balanced take than how your post first appears, but since I’m not a medical professional I’m attempting to look at “cannabis addiction” from a lay-person’s eyes.

          Sure, a lot of what goes into describing an addiction involves “is this something with consequences that you find yourself unable to stop,” and at some level with sufficient self-control anyone could avoid addiction to anything. But that definition strikes me as lousy for making normative judgements about behavior.

          To a doctor it’s important to have an inclusive definition of addiction since they need to describe what’s happening to their patients and since they take those patients as given and seek to treat them. That’s useful for them, but also results in a glut of ‘diseases’ or ‘syndromes’ which meet a medical standard (aka ‘this occurs’) but not a universal societal one (aka ‘some biological or chemical process has essentially made this medical occurrence happen involuntarily’).

          As someone who might have to interact with an addict though, I’m also interested in apportioning some responsibility for their current state of affairs. Someone who was inadvertently addicted to painkillers due to substandard medical supervision would receive my sympathy and little to no judgement. Someone addicted to heroin would receive both sympathy for the terrible physical costs as well as judgement for making the initial bad choices. Someone addicted to video games, or pornography, or marijuana though would receive little sympathy, since their addiction may be very real to them, but due to the absence of chemical factors would be something most individuals would avoid with ordinary effort and responsibility. If heroin users approach 100% rates of addiction with continued use, while cannabis users plateau at 10-20%, it seems much more likely to me that the latter drug has roughly the same psychological pull on each user, and some people are simply making bad decisions to over-consume, hence my self-control claim.

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      • james wilson says:

        I know a marijuana “addict” very well. He’s been to jail three times for it, prison once, and he’ll go back, no doubt about it. What he is really addicted to is immaturity, staying in the zone he knows. Probably not a good prescription for someone who wants to evolve as a hitter, but I would rather Singleton flames out in a stupor than have baseball regulate which recreational drugs ruin players.

        I know everyday users who are very productive people. The difference is that they do not smoke morning, noon, and night. Even not knowing Singleton, I would assume he did. The team has a legitimate stake in helping him, but not under the force of law.

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    • Blootzkloof says:

      Pot addiction isn’t real bro. Sorry to tell you. The only people who actually use pot as an excuse are potheads who didn’t do too well in life and decided to justify their shortcomings by blaming a freaking plant.

      I’m not sure either how pot would affect a sports performance, unless you literally get lit up ten minutes before a game. Pot is just a way to relax and let loose of your imagination. I know people who smoke maryjane multiple times a week, yet managed to become very successful in life.

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      • munchtime says:

        “I know people who smoke maryjane multiple times a week, yet managed to become very successful in life”

        I know people who are raging alcoholics, yet managed to become very successful in life. Being successful does not make alcoholism (or any other addiction) any less real.

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    • zer0grav says:

      You cite Wikipedia and then you expect me to take a single word you say seriously? I have access to almost every single medical journal in the world and almost all of the modern material about marijuana thats not a government funded study demonstrates a plethora of tangible benefits.

      Chemistry doesn’t back your claims here Englishman. You can develop a tolerance, but not a dependence.

      If you really want me to pull up all of the online journals via Georgia Tech’s library and blind you with the light that will burn the very flesh off your skin, I will be more than happy to do so.

      Jon Singleton, he’s good and stuff.

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      • My echo and bunnymen says:

        Well aren’t you mister special. It’s not like Google has a search specifically for scholarly literature or anything. I’ve never just sat on a computer searching through that trying to write a paper or anything, nor have I ever gone to Wikipedia and used the links on the bottom that may or may not lead you to reputable journals as well.

        I do sit on the Marijuana is addictive, just not chemically addictive side of the fence. I think that most likely it is far worse for a child than an adult. I also think that we are not fully aware of all the adverse effects of Marijuana use and that in 20 or 30 years it will be legal (I’m cool with that too) but we will have seen and proven that Marijuana affects short term memory or processing speed in the brain, but then again maybe not. Time is needed to figure more out about it.

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    • TK says:

      Yes, marijuana can become an addiction just like TV, eating drywall, and ANYTHING. However, marijuana is not chemically addictive, it is an addictive lifestyle. Instead of citing wikipedia and a ficticious novel you should look into real sources that will give you actual facts.

      Anyway wikipedia also says:

      “Marijuana is not a drug. I used to suck dick for coke…Now that’s an addiction, man.”

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  3. wowow says:

    Well, you could start by laying out why he’s misguided instead of wildly accusing him of such

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  4. Bob Saget says:

    Marijuana is not a drug. I used to s**k d**k for coke!

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  5. neck wattle says:

    Yeah dudes, y’all can get addicted to anything – as the man on the streetcorner sez, everybody has their coffee. What I find interesting about this (outside of Very Interesting baseballer Jonathan Singleton) is the insane double standard of a drug policy that prohibits marijuana while being pretty nonchalant about alcohol, which is probably worse for your performance as a professional athlete long term. Just a microcosm I guess, ain’t that what all of baseball is?

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    • nivalis says:

      Pretty much.

      During and after Singleton’s suspension, when he was struggling mightily at the plate and seeing his prospect status dim, he was fully in throes of heavy alcohol abuse, the drug he turned to as a replacement for MJ.

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      • james wilson says:

        Ya. The legendary Jazz sax player, Charlie Parker, was a life long heroin user. He went cold turkey one day, picked up the bottle, gained 100 lbs. and died within four years of cirrhosis of the liver.

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  6. Jason B says:

    We may need a moratorium on the topic. It instantly becomes “You CAN get addicted to pot!” “You CANNOT be addicted to pot!” “UR dumb whatevs” rabble rabble rabble

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  7. Elmo says:

    Jon Singleton is not Josh Hamilton. That said, it sounds like Singleton does have an addictive personality. Hopefully he can enjoy a long, happy career.

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  8. Bryan says:

    I think that the first spray chart is from 2012, not 2013. I count 21 home runs on the chart which was his AA total from 2012. He only hit 11 in 2013.

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    • Welp! Good work. Don’t know why that is what it is.

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      • Bryan says:

        After some digging, turns out those are the 2013 numbers. The spray chart includes his hitting from the Puerto Rican Winter League where he hit 9 home runs in addition to the 11 he hit during the MILB season. Also, I miscounted, and there were only 20 on the spray chart.

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  9. ThingsMoreAddictivethanPot says:

    Well as a chief de-railer of conversation and defender of pot, let me try and bring this back to Singleton and Mr. Sullivan’s fine piece.

    It is significant that Singleton nearly ruined his career through “marijuana addiction.” It is significant because he nearly ruined his career.

    The Colts selected Quinn Pitcock with the 98th pick of the 2007 NFL Draft. He was briefly a Seahawk (why I know about him, primarily) and now plays in the Arena Football League. After one season with the Colts, Pitcock retired, citing his own video game addiction. Maybe there is a DSM entry about this. I don’t know and do not much care, but I have known people who are substantially ruining their lives because of compulsive use of video games.

    (I would guess VGs are ten times the societal evil marijuana is, but it’s going to take a lot of old people playing Call of Duty 29, and the sudden rush of bitterness they feel for an entirely wasted life, for that evil to be outed.)

    What matters though is not so much the particular but that Pitcock, Singleton, endangered their careers because of some weakness, compulsion, etc. We underestimate just how incredibly narrow the difference between pro-quality and semi-pro quality is, in athletics. Guys like Singleton, maybe they cannot be both great at baseball and prone to compulsive behaviors.

    This I think is the best and most honest way to describe Singleton’s difficulties: “… Singleton was definitely preoccupied and not taking the best possible care of his body or career.” Or so it seems, anyway, and whether that was pot, Candy Crush or the `Tussin, it probably doesn’t matter a whole hell of a lot. It wasn’t helping him, anyway, and he wasn’t good enough at baseball to overcome it (maybe.)

    Meanwhile, though, we shouldn’t forget … oh, the list is endless, and so I will represent it as a set: alcoholic professional athletes [… Mickey Mantle, Ken Stabler, Miguel Cabrera, John Riggins, John Baal …]

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    • tz says:

      My son is addicted to video games, and he’s about the same age as Johan Santa.

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      • ThingsMoreAddictivethanPot says:

        It’s no joke. It really, really isn’t.

        I imagine when we get to know the brain better, we’ll see it’s not much different than compulsive gambling.

        (P.S. Down with the Oregon Lottery.)

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    • Paul says:

      “I would guess VGs are ten times the societal evil marijuana is.”

      I think you have a point somewhere in all of your comments. However, your repeated use of hyperbole and conflating what others are arguing is taking away from your point.

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  10. nard says:


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    • Spit Ball says:

      Just a shitty message and one I’m rather sick of given our current pro pot culture. Look if it works for you great but people are wired differently and are introduced to things at different times. God bless Mr. Singleton and his guaranteed 10 million. This idea going around that pot is non problematic, not a gateway drug and common cure for every ailment to man is hogwash. Do certain chemicals in the plant have healing powers for some; yes. THC is not one of them. I am from Topsham Maine so I did not grow up in a baseball or sports hotbed. That being said Mount Ararat high school in Topsham is the school that Mark Rogers was drafted fifth overall out of in 2004. He was suspended for PED use at one point, but trust me when I tell you those were the least of his problems. Eight years prior to that a friend of mine and myself graduated from the same school. We could both throw around 90 MPH at the time of high school graduation and were the best players in school history prior to Mark. Thing is neither one of us ever reached our potential as athletes in any of the sports we played. We both had our heads blown up in Little League that we were capable of playing on the highest level or at least being drafted. However the 6 years we spent in Junior High and High School were wasted. Both of us had IQ’s above 120 both of us were strong in the weight room and excellent athletes. Scouts came to check us both out in Babe Ruth and our First couple years of high school. I graduated in 1996 so I remember a young Mark and his brother at games with his brother (also an excellent arm with potential) and I dare say he looked up to us. My friend and I were also lauded statewide and even around New England for our baseball prowess. Thing is we were both smoking pot and drinking by the eighth grade, growing pot and dropping acid through high schools as we thought we had the world by the balls. Whether either one of us would have succeeded at baseball professionally I don’t know. What I do know looking back is A) we both had issues and demons from a young age B) neither one of developed into the players we could have been because of our high school lifestyle C)Pot was a gateway drug for both of us as we decided to become junkies when oxy contin showed up in 1996. We definitely both blew gifts At 36 years old we go to meetings together and have been sober for 4-6 years. Neither one of us has much but we lift weights together and try to help each other. Back to Nark Rogers. He stayed sober through high school to my knowledge but was smoking pot and drinking at the age of nineteen and struggled through opioid addiction in his early twenties. He never got caught for that but did have to take a forces breather for PED use. He’s likely done with baseball as he is now in his late twenties. I’m sick of hearing weed doesn’t ruin lives and is not a gateway drug because sometimes…… does and is. Peace yo.

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      • sakiehl says:

        Thanks for this.

        I’ll buy the argument that alcohol is more harmful to society than weed. I’m so tired of the argument that weed isn’t addictive or harmful, though. It seems so obviously false. I’ve known enough people who live life baked and are consequently struggling. Maybe it’s hard to see when you’re in the lifestyle, I dunno.

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  11. ThingsMoreAddictivethanPot says:

    I am becoming that guy, hmm …

    But on a final note, here’s what I think people are failing to realize. Singleton’s career has been almost derailed by “marijuana addiction” because Singleton was suspended for using, and not because he got high and crashed his car or pivoted from his pyramid of coke and fought a final desperate and ultimately failed battle against Sosa’s men, wielding an assault rifle/grenade launcher he affectionately calls his “Little Friend.” We don’t even know, for instance, if using marijuana had any meaningful effect on his play outside of those suspensions. The guy’s a top prospect–that’s why we know who he is. Maybe he had never just looked at a curve ball before trying ganja.

    So this assumption that Singleton has overcome his addiction, recovered from his sickness, etc. is fraught with circular logic. It’s journalistic pablum, classic fall-and-redemption BS, and for all we know he could be saying it as a PR move, and to get MLB and the Houston Astros off his back. It doesn’t seem the marijuana that’s hurting him so much as the prohibition. Likewise, we might say Babe Ruth overcame segregation by being passably white. That’s a joke, but with pointed intent.

    People are alarmingly deferential to the status quo. People are alarmingly, alarmingly deferential to the status quo, and it seems even in the face of overwhelming evidence that the status quo is illogical, founded on hatred and hurting people. It’s funny, in a most embittering way, how people laugh at the injustices of the past, isn’t it? We’re so damn smug. Yet the human nature that created, maintained and enforced the injustices of the past seems hardy as ever.

    Okay, back to finding if I can revive human tissue and end the curse of mortality, with nothing more than Cinex, a Solo and the collected works of Cornelius Agrippa. Wish me bad luck! The creature will be misunderstood and suffer!! It will become an enduring metaphor for hubris! prejudice! and the sanctity of human life! Bad movies! Many bad movies will be made because of my failure.

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  12. Dopamine says:

    My understanding is that like all pleasurable things marijuana causes a short term increase in the body’s dopamine levels. Drugs, including marijuana, tend to cause such a large increase relative to other pleasurable things that those other pleasurable things (taking walks, holding hands, smelling flowers blah blah blah) seem less enjoyable by comparison. Sustained usage of those drugs can in turn lead to a dopamine addiction that is only satisfied by indulgence in those activities which release huge quantities of dopamine (drugs, porn, gambling blah blah blah). Interestingly, one of the long term effects of these drugs is lower natural levels of dopamine production. That in turn explains the lazy, unmotivated, depressed states many addicts find themselves in when deprived of their drug of choice.

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  13. Jeremy says:

    Why was this argument about marijuana so predictable?

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    • TK says:

      I blame marijuana itself, somebody should outlaw that shit! Afterall it has clearly caused us to deteriorate to savages and hurt the timber industry. So instead we should all get drunk and then be less violent and angry.

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  14. TanPadreFan says:

    Singleton’s ‘focus’ on pulling the ball reminds me of Jeff’s recent article on Edwin Encarnacion.

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  15. On topics like this I think of Mike Moustakas and some of the other Royals that were part of “the best minor league group in history” … and some of the setbacks theyve had.

    I agree with those that have pointed out that 10M + FA in the prime years as being a decent move for a prospect.

    I dont understand why the addictiveness or non-addictiveness of marijuana dominates the conversation. That seems secondary to the situation of platers having being called up or remaining in the minors as part of them signing away their FA years. That to me is a situation that deserves following.

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    • Potheads uuuurvrywhere says:

      But what will we write 4,000 word screeds about then, HMMMM??

      Didn’t think about that did you. There’s your flaw.

      *sits back, self-satisfied, tokes up*

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  16. SeattleSlew says:

    From my experience the people who are in denial that marijuana is addictive, claiming that they can stop smoking it whenever they want are usually the people who smoke everyday and never stop smoking. There is no reason for a person who is satisfied with their life to smoke.

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    • TK says:

      That is specious reasoning. No reason for a person who is satisfied wth their life to drink, no reason for a person satisfied with their life to play video games, no reason for a person satisfied with their life to read books of fiction, no reason for a person satisfied with their life to watch movies or TV, no reason for a person satisfied with their life to masterbate.

      Afterall, they are all varying forms of escapism, and why would a person “satisfied with thier life” need escapism?

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  17. Marco says:

    Does it matter if pot addiction actually exists if Singleton:

    identifies as an addict, reports his experience as that of an addict, and suffers from many of the problems that addicts have?

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