Name: Steven Singleton
DOB: September 12, 1985
The Twins drafted Steven Singleton in the 11th round of the 2006 draft, taking the young middle infielder from San Diego University. Rated as one of the best defensive infielders on the West Coast, the Twins were excited that Singleton slipped to them in the 11th round, as he was projected to go in the top ten rounds. After a solid inaugural season of professional baseball, Singleton is now one of the top middle infield prospects in the Twins organization.
Singleton was recruited by Notre Dame, Stanford, and Baylor while he was in high school, but he chose the University of San Diego due to their excellent academics. During his high school days, Singleton was a three-time All-Area selection out of Bishop O'Dowd High School, and was named All-State during his senior season. During his senior year, Singleton batted .420, and his team won the league championship.
During his freshman season at San Diego, Singleton played behind Jose Ortega, who would go on to become a professional baseball player. Singleton appeared in 19 games, and though he batted only .209, he showed the uncanny ability to field his position. The job would be his the following year, and his statistics reflected his growth.
Singleton batted .282 as a sophomore, starting in 50 of his 51 appearances. He posted 14 multi-hit games, and set himself up for a breakout junior season, which would be his last at the school.
In 2006, Singleton batted .363 for San Diego, while being named to the All-WCC First Team. He led the team in batting average and hits (89), and was second on the team in doubles (17). His season would be the main cause of him being selected so high in the draft.
When the Twins came calling in the 11th round this past draft, Singleton was quick to sign. He was originally assigned to Elizabethton of the Appalachian League, and quickly showed that his great batting stats during his junior year at San Diego were no fluke.
For Elizabethton, Singleton batted .340 in 41 games, and was first on the team with five triples. Singleton scored 26 runs, drove in 24, and 18 of his 49 hits were of the extra-base hit variety. He did struggle with the glove a bit, committing 12 errors.
Batting and Power: Singleton has the ability to be a solid hitter, and projects to be a guy who can hit in the .300 range in the future. Since his junior year of college, Singleton has shown the ability to spray the ball to all fields, and he has shown tremendous gap power. He is never going to hit 25 home runs in a season, but he does have the power to hit 10-15 dingers in any season, and he is always going to pick up a bunch of extra-base hits. He does need to work on his batting eye a bit, but that is going to come with more experience in the professional ranks. He is a good hitter, who has the ability to be great.
Baserunning and Speed: Steven is quite fast, and did not really get the chance to show off his wheels in the Appalachian League this past season. He does not have blazing speed, but he is a good base runner, who does not make many mistakes once he gets on. His collegiate experience has also helped him in this area of his game, as he has the ability to know when to take the next base, and when to turn a single into a double. He only stole one base this past season, but I suspect he should get the green light more often in 2007.
Defense: Singleton is a great middle infielder defensively, and was rated as the top defensive infielder on the West Coast by some scouts while he was at the University of San Diego. Though he committed 12 errors during the 2006 season for Elizabethton, it was more a matter of him getting used to professional baseball, and not that he struggles with the glove. In fact, he is one of the top five gloves in the Twins organization, and he will most likely stay at shortstop. If he can have another solid season with the bat in 2007, then he could rank right up there with Paul Kelly, and Trevor Plouffe in next year's rankings.
ETA. 2010 Singleton could make a steady rise throughout the Twins organization, mostly due to the fact that he is a mature baseball player. He has gotten great experience during his time in college, and that truly showed in his first season with the Twins. Some believe that he could wind up being the Twins starting shortstop one day, and his track record shows that those kinds of words are not too crazy. I expect him to get his first taste of full-season baseball in 2007, and it will be a good barometer of where he is at in his development.