Texas Rangers top prospect Willie Calhoun was benched Sunday afternoon for the Round Rock Express after failing to run out a ground ball. Does this have any affect on his promotion timeline for the 2018 season?
It’s not too often a player makes headline news for not running out a ground ball. However, Texas Rangers’ top prospect Willie Calhoun managed to do so. Calhoun was pulled from the Round Rock Express lineup Sunday afternoon due to his lack of hustle on a grounder. When addressing the occurrence with the media, Rangers’ skipper Jeff Banister stated:
"“Our identity is we are going to run hard down the line. It’s about the effort you are giving your teammates. That’s the identity we want to have.”"
Without question, this one is on Willie Calhoun. He is at the top of the list of potential Texas Rangers’ call-ups, yet, he risks taking a step back in the organization’s favor when pulling a stunt like this. The Rangers have him under a microscope. They have a very brief, but finite checklist that they are looking to check off if Calhoun allows for it. Texas has not expressed concern with their top prospect’s bat; however, they have expressed concern with his attitude. A mental lapse such as not running out a ground ball only magnifies the concern.
The bottom line is the Texas Rangers are in no rush to promote Calhoun. The team is not going to contend in 2018 and they already have enough position players on their current roster that they are trying to get a feel for. Would the Rangers like to get a look at Willie Calhoun in the major leagues this season? Absolutely. But they aren’t in any hurry. Based on the grapevine, the organization has been very direct with Calhoun in regards to expectations. Until he can prove mature and selfless, the 23-year-old talent will remain in the minor leagues.
Now, let’s take the situation for what it is. Willie Calhoun failed to run out a single ground ball. He did not charge the mound after being hit by a pitch or get into a confrontation with a coach. Benching him for his lack of hustle is justified, but it shouldn’t be a huge deterrent to Calhoun’s progress.
Los Angeles Dodgers’ phenom Cody Bellinger was benched early in the season as well due to not running hard out of the batter’s box. You best believe the Dodgers didn’t send him to the minor leagues. In fact, Bellinger was in the starting lineup the very next day. The point is the Texas Rangers should not blow this out of proportion.
Calhoun picked a terrible time for a mental error, but they do happen. I’d imagine the big league squad will not deviate too far from their current plans for their top prospect. A June or July call-up should be inevitable for Willie Calhoun.