Waiting for Willie Calhoun

Willie Calhoun is a potential fantasy difference-maker, and it’s hard to believe he won’t get the call soon. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Texas prospect Willie Calhoun has hit safely in nine straight games at Triple-A Round Rock, and he’s coming off an excellent minor league season. He slashed .300/.355/.572 in the PCL last year, homering 31 times and finishing with more extra-base hits (64) than strikeouts (61). It’s tough to argue that his bat is not ready for the majors.

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As a fielder, Calhoun is … well, he’s a great hitter. His glove in left-field (or any field) is, by most accounts, a work in progress. But the Rangers have a desperate, obvious, glaring need for hitting. The team entered the week averaging 3.2 runs per game, near the bottom of the A.L. As I write this, they are being shut down by Blake Snell.

Texas optioned left-fielder Ryan Rua to Triple-A on Monday, because the vet has opened the season hitting .178/.208/.267 with 14 Ks and two walks. For now, Rua has been replaced by Renato Nunez, a high-strikeout/low-average power hitter. Carlos Tocci has been playing centerfield for Texas, because Drew Robinson was a mess to open the season. It’s very hard to believe Calhoun wouldn’t out-hit everyone else mentioned in this paragraph.

So when will Calhoun get the call? THAT IS AN EXCELLENT QUESTION. I don’t make personnel decisions for the Rangers, and the people who do say he’s not quite ready. So we wait.

Willie himself was not at all pleased to begin the season in Round Rock:

“I was really mad, just because I felt like I had nothing else to prove here at Triple-A,” the Rangers’ second-ranked prospect said. “When you hear that you’re going back to a league after you had such a good year like that … I just kind of felt like it was a slap in the face.”

Here’s hoping the waiting doesn’t last much longer. When he arrives, Calhoun will definitely be a player of interest for fantasy purposes. He’s unowned in 87 percent of Yahoo leagues at the moment, so most of you can add him before the rush.

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