Texas Rangers: What does Willie Calhoun have to do to stay in the bigs?
By Travis Koch
With Nomar Mazara back, the Texas Rangers have sent #2 prospect Willie Calhoun to Triple-A. He’ll be back soon, but was this a necessary move?
A roster move had to be made with Nomar Mazara returning from injury last night. The Texas Rangers opted to send #2 prospect Willie Calhoun to Triple-A. Calhoun slashed .275/.325/.391 with one home run and nine RBI in 22 games with Texas. He also blended in just fine in left field, committing one error in 17 starts.
The demotion makes sense and doesn’t make sense.
Frankly, the Rangers’ options were limited. There was suspicion that Adrian Beltre would take Mazara’s place on the DL with his hamstring injury. If that were the case, no player would have had to be demoted. Though, that was not the case as Beltre remains active.
In addition, the team decided to keep their six-man rotation in tact. This means Drew Hutchison remains part of the big league club. Hutchison has been named the starter for tonight’s game, pitching in place of Mike Minor who is dealing with back stiffness.
With those two possibilities off the table, it came down to Calhoun or the ever-struggling Delino DeShields to be demoted. Texas has only two classified center fielders on the roster – Delino DeShields and Carlos Tocci.
As a member of the Rule 5 Draft, Tocci has to remain on the major league active roster for the duration of the 2018 season. Unfortunately, he isn’t a reliable enough bat to be an everyday starter. Therefore, the Texas Rangers have to either stick with DeShields in center, or explore less traditional options.
If yesterday was any indication, the team still intends to play DeShields everyday. DeShields is hitting .204 with 22 RBI and a .303 OBP this season.
Would you rather see the organization’s #2 prospect get consistent time in left field and establish a makeshift center fielder (Joey Gallo, perhaps), or send the #2 prospect to Triple-A and maintain the center fielder that can’t hit himself out of a wet paper bag?
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It would be one thing if DeShields was playing decently, but he’s not, and he hasn’t been for over two months. And Calhoun was swinging the bat well. It’s not like he was hitting .150 and striking out half of the time. The Texas Rangers had the opportunity to give the fans what they wanted to see. They let the fans see Calhoun 19 times; however, he is once again back with the Round Rock Express.
In defense of the Calhoun demotion, Texas will promote him in two weeks, the time in which MLB rosters increase from 25 to 40 players. Calhoun will get consistent at-bats in Triple-A for the time being.
Again, the demotion certainly has some sense to it. It just seemed the Texas Rangers had the chance to make a couple of fun changes in a lost season. Joey Gallo in center field would have been an exciting experiment and Willie Calhoun playing everyday in the big leagues would have put Calhoun’s offensive talent on full display.