A continuing look at the Rangers 40-man roster.
Left-Handed Hitting Outfielder
If cockiness translated to skills, Willie Calhoun would have been an All-Star. Instead, he is looking like yet another disappointing young player on a Rangers roster full of underperformers.
Calhoun came to Texas in the Yu Darvish deal at the deadline of 2017 and immediately thought his birthright was the starting left field job. Instead, he was sent to Triple-A and sulked about it. He did become a September call-up and put up decent, if not spectacular numbers.
He wasn’t gifted with an opening day assignment in 2018, either, and wasn’t happy. He finally got a late-July call-up and, again, while he wasn’t spectacular, he was better than other spare parts the Rangers were giving more playing time to, like Carlos Tocci, Ryan Rua, and Drew Robinson.
Surprisingly, Calhoun started 2019 in Triple-A as well. It seemed like, for some reason, the Rangers just didn’t believe in him. He finally got a call-up in mid-May, putting up the kind of numbers that gave the Rangers hope that he had finally established himself as the starting left fielder for 2020.
Then a fastball shattered his jaw in spring training and his 2020 season never got going. He started the season the IL with a leg injury, and ended his season early with another leg injury.
In between, he batted .190 with an on-base percentage of .231 and a brutal OPS+ of 34.
He took a huge step backward in 2020. On most teams, he would be a question mark heading into 2021. But on the Rangers’ offensively challenged team, Willie Calhoun will probably be the team’s DH moving forward now that Shin-Soo Choo is gone.
The question is, can he hit?
Calhoun will use 2021 to prove 2020 was just a bad dream.