Astros Singleton, Deetz Suspended for Substance Abuse

Once one of the Astros top hitting prospects, Jon Singleton will miss the entire 2018 minor league season thanks to his third failed drug test.
Once one of the Astros top hitting prospects, Jon Singleton will miss the entire 2018 minor league season thanks to his third failed drug test. Photo by Tom Hagerty
In what has quickly become one of the biggest bust stories in Astros history, infielder Jon Singleton was suspended 100 games for his third bust of an illegal substance. Additionally, right-handed AA pitcher Dean Deetz got dinged for 80 games for use of performance-enhancing drugs.

First, Deetz was drafted in 2014 by the Astros in the 11th round and worked his way through the minors to AAA, where he had his share of struggles last season. He was placed on the Astros 40-man roster in the offseason, but now will spend half the year resting quietly at home. He tested positive for Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone. According to the Wikipedia entry on this nasty garbage, it was developed in East Germany and was popular among bodybuilders, particularly in Russia. It is only available on the black market, apparently, making this story even weirder.

For his part, Deetz has completely denied any knowledge of taking the banned substance. In a statement, he said, "I come from a small town, and know how fortunate I am to call myself a professional baseball player. I would never jeopardize that opportunity, or betray those who have supported me along the way, by trying to cheat in order to gain an advantage. As I explained to the arbitrator in my appeal, I have no idea how I could possibly have tested positive and although I am disappointed with the outcome, I will abide by his decision."

But, then we have Singleton. The 26-year-old prospect was thought to be one of the better power-hitting young players in the Astros farm system when they acquired him in 2011 as part of the Hunter Pence trade. He is probably best known for the $10 million-deal he signed before he had even made a single major league plate appearance—a Jeff Lunhow gamble that is a relatively small amount of money by MLB standards IF Singleton worked out, which he didn't.

He made appearances for the Astros in 2014 and 2015 before being permanently demoted. He spent 2017 at AA Corpus Christi hitting 18 homers in 117 games, hitting a paltry .205. It was unlikely he was ever going to play on the big league roster again despite the money he is getting paid.

This is Singleton's third bust. He served a 50-game suspension in 2013 after his second failed test. In 2014, he told the Associated Press that he had an addiction to marijuana. "At this point, it's pretty evident to me that I'm a drug addict," he said in the interview. "I know that I enjoy smoking weed, I enjoy being high, and I can't block that out of my mind that I enjoy that."

Neither the Astros nor Major League Baseball announce the substances used by those who are required to enter their abuse treatment program, but given his history, use of marijuana seems likely here.

Fortunately, neither suspension should adversely affect the Astros as they head into spring training. Pitchers and catchers report to the 'Stros brand new digs in West Palm Beach, Florida on Valentine's Day and the rest of the squad joins a few days later. They open spring training games on February 23 against the Washington Nationals. The regular season opener is March 29 in Arlington against division rivals the Texas Rangers.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke