The Texas Rangers have just an 11% shot of making the playoffs, per FanGraphs, and could soon be getting a boost to improve those odds.
According to Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News, top prospect Willie Calhoun is about to be promoted to the big league club. Depending on where manager Jeff Banister opts to place Calhoun in the lineup, this could wind up being a boon for the Rangers even if they miss out on the postseason in 2017.
This is because Calhoun is a unique kind of talent and though he doesn’t look like much in the flesh, he needs to be taken seriously.
Calhoun the prospect
Willie Calhoun is not one of the Rangers’ home grown youngsters. In fact, he is quite new to the franchise. He came over from the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of the Yu Darvish trade at the July 31 deadline earlier this year and turned a lot of heads.
This is because since being picked by the Dodgers in the fourth round of the 2015 draft, the 22-year-old Calhoun has played with the intensity and passion of someone much larger than his 5-foot-8, 187-pound frame.
Across the Triple-A squads of both Texas and Los Angeles this season, Calhoun has hit an impressive .300 with 31 home runs and 93 RBI. His OBP could be higher than where it is now, at .355, but Calhoun still has just 61 strikeouts in 534 plate appearances along with 27 doubles and even six triples.
And deeper metrics suggest that Calhoun’s prowess at the plate will continue on the MLB level. His BABIP with Round Rock, Texas’ Triple-A affiliate, is a respectable .290. His strikeout rate is just 10%, though his walk rate is lower at 5%. Calhoun’s isolated power is also only .257, but that’s still respectable given his size.
Calhoun the Ranger
Calhoun has been called up and though he was a second baseman in the Dodgers’ system, the Rangers have used him primarily in left field. He has made three errors in his 24 games at Round Rock but has also logged a respectable 206.1 innings at the position.
It is expected that Calhoun will see at least draw some starts over the remainder of the season now that veteran outfielder Carlos Gomez is out with a sprained ankle. Depending on how Rougned Odor’s ankle is feeling, he could also see some time at second base.
Either way, one thing is certain. Texas was high on Calhoun for a reason and this is probably his first audition for the 2018 season. Gomez will be a free agent at season’s end and given his injury-riddled 2017 along with his 32nd birthday being in December, odds are greater than none that he isn’t coming back.
This could be an opening for Calhoun if he impresses not only during this September callup but next year as well. Simply put, keep an eye on the kid if you want to watch a potentially special kind of talent.
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