The Astros were dealt a major blow on Wednesday, as the team announced that top prospect Jonathan Singleton will be suspended for the first 50 games of the 2013 season due to a positive test for a banned drug of abuse, marijuana. Singleton was ranked as the 34th-best prospect in baseball prior to the 2012 season.
With Houston in the midst of a youth movement, Singleton's suspension could hurt his chances of reaching the majors in 2013. The 21-year-old had a strong campaign at Double-A Corpus Christi in 2012, batting .284/.396/.497 while popping 21 homers and 27 doubles. His 2012 totals are remarkably consistent with his minor-league career rates of .291/.394/.470, demonstrating that the left-handed hitting first baseman hasn't needed much adjustment time at any level.
Singleton's primary competition at first base would have been Houston's incumbent at the cold corner, Brett Wallace, a 26-year-old who hit .253/.323/.424 in 254 major-league plate appearances in 2012.
NB: Marijuana use is not typically grounds for suspension, but this is Singleton's second positive test, and Section 7.D. of MLB's drug policy does allow for the Commissioner to supersede the normal punishment for pot if deemed necessary.