Left is Willie’s.

Left field is Willie Calhoun’s. He’s worked long and hard for that, and now he’s earned it.

Below him on the depth chart is Scott Heineman, who everyone is rooting will make the team as a fourth outfielder and becomes a major contributor. It’s asking too much for him to be the next David Murphy but it sure would be nice.

Below Heimeman in left and on the 40-man roster is former Cuban and Japanese right fielder Adolis Garcia, the 26-year-old the Rangers acquired from St. Louis for cash. Garcia hit 32 home runs with the Cardinals Triple-A team in 2019. That’s a lot of home runs until you remember the ball was juiced.

But 2020 will be the year of Willie Calhoun. Maybe not in that he will be the player everyone talks about this season but in this is the year we find out if the strides Calhoun made last year were for real. And, if he can build on those.

Calhoun came to Texas from the Dodgers in the Yu Darvish deal in 2017. He thought left field was going to be given to him. It wasn’t. He pouted and spent considerable time at Triple-A in 2018. When he did get into the major league lineup, he was mostly ineffective at the plate.

Which led to him starting 2019 in Triple-A as well. But, after an attitude adjustment and injuries, he broke through the logjam of outfielders and became the Rangers regular left fielder, putting up the fifth highest OPS (.848), behind Gallo (.986), Pence, (.910), Solak (.884), and Santana (.857).

What’s most impressive, especially on an offense where striking out is in its DNA, Calhoun whiffed just 53 times in 2019. The next fewest was Hunter Pence with 69. To put it in context, Odor led the team with 178.

Calhoun is 25. He has a year of success under his belt. He seems to have his head on straight. And he’s the Rangers starting left fielder. 

He’s not an All-Star yet. But on a team that is as offensively challenged as the Rangers, he is a real positive. 

Left field is one of the few positions the Rangers don’t need a serious upgrade in.