Opportunity often comes with injury and Willie Calhoun has made the most of his opportunities this season.
They had to come at the expense of Joey Gallo getting hurt, then Nomar Mazara. But that is baseball. And Calhoun is showing everyone that he belonged here in the first place.
When he didn’t make the team out of spring training, after a strong spring and after doing everything that was asked of him in the off-season, he was upset. He chose to air his laundry in the press.
He was finally called up in May, got into six games, 23 at-bats, and hit just .435 with an OPS of only 1.197.
For that lack of production, he was sent down. He was not happy about that. Nor should he have been. He was running circles around others whom the Rangers chose to keep. But, the roster was extremely lopsided with outfielders, and he ended up paying the price for bad GMing.
They called him back up in June, stuck him in the lineup, and he has been the Rangers best hitter ever since.
After going 2-for-4 last night, Calhoun is batting .290, with 15 home runs, 34 RBIs and an OPS just a click away from .900.
Now that Calhoun has been free to just play without having to constantly look over his shoulder wondering when he was going to be cut again, he’s proven he not only belongs in the big leagues but he belongs in the starting lineup.
The logjam of outfielders was simply bad roster management.
Maybe his defense does force him out of the outfield and into a full-time DH role. Other than a couple bad throws, his defense has been acceptable so far. He is, after all, playing left field, a position so easy they stuck Mike Napoli out there.
One thing should be certain. With Gallo and Calhoun, two thirds of the Rangers outfield for 2020 are covered. Then it’s a fight for right between Mazara, DeShields, Choo, Heineman, Pence, Santana, and the other six outfielders they will sign this off-season.
Felix Hernandez (1-4, 6.09) vs. Lance Lynn (14-9, 3.85)
Game time: 7:05