When are the Texas Rangers going to take Willie Calhoun seriously?

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ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Willie Calhoun #55 of the Texas Rangers reacts after being called out on strikes with two runners on base to end the top o fthe fifth inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on September 16, 2017 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Willie Calhoun #55 of the Texas Rangers reacts after being called out on strikes with two runners on base to end the top o fthe fifth inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on September 16, 2017 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) /
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#2 prospect Willie Calhoun was called up to the big leagues for the third time yesterday. The Texas Rangers still do not intend to afford him regular playing time.

As was expected, Texas Rangers’ #2 prospect, Willie Calhoun, was promoted to the big leagues as part of the September call-ups. Call-ups began Saturday, but Texas waited for the Triple-A season to conclude before calling Calhoun up on Tuesday. He now slots behind Joey Gallo as the backup left fielder.

This marks the third time Calhoun has surfaced on the major league roster since he was acquired by the Rangers at last year’s trade deadline. He played in 13 games with the team in 2017 and slashed .265/.324/.353 with one home run. His second stint occurred this past July when he played in 22 games and slashed .275/.325/.391 with one home run.

Calhoun has done a fine job at the plate and he’s even done a fine job in left field amongst the organization’s doubts regarding his defense. The problem is Texas cannot afford him everyday playing time. Well, they can, but they choose not to.

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SURPRISE, AZ – MARCH 05: Willie Calhoun #5 of the Texas Rangers hits a RBI single against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning of the spring training game at Surprise Stadium on March 5, 2018 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The September plan for Willie Calhoun is more of the same. Texas intends to play him sparingly, perhaps a few games a week. They’ll stick with Gallo in left field, DeShields in center and Mazara in right the majority of the time. Obviously, Gallo and Mazara should be playing every day. But should Delino DeShields?

I’ve been pleading for the Texas Rangers to demote DeShields to part-time for about a month now. Frankly, he’s not getting the job done and he is not up to par with the rest of the offensive talent that makes up the lineup on a daily basis. Case and point, DeShields is hitting .203 with a .301 OBP, two home runs and 18 stolen bases in 88 games this season. He is barely hitting above the Mendoza Line and he offers very little if he can’t find ways to reach base.

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Maybe I’m old school in saying that the best players should play. DeShields may be a better all-around player than Calhoun; however, the bat carries the majority of the weight in baseball. The discrepancy in offensive numbers between Calhoun and DeShields is significant. Significant enough to warrant more playing time for Calhoun and less playing time for DeShields.

Yes, inserting Calhoun into the lineup and removing DeShields would result in more than one defensive change, but the changes would be familiar ones. Moreover, Calhoun would play left field and Joey Gallo would play center field. Both have blended in nicely at those positions when they’ve been called on to do so.

Plus, what would the fans want?

To see the organization’s #2 prospect in action or to see the same Delino DeShields that has been struggling at the plate all season long? The answer is clear. And Gallo playing center field would be an added bonus.

I may be asking too much from the Texas Rangers, but the reality is Willie Calhoun will have to get consistent playing time at some point very soon. Calhoun playing consistently will allow him to get into a rhythm, something every young player needs. Just look at what Jurickson Profar has been able to do with consistent playing time.

Calhoun is 23 years old. He climbed from Rookie ball to Triple-A in just two seasons and has now spent the bulk of 2017 and 2018 at Triple-A. He’s put up good numbers at Triple-A; thus, there’s not much reason for him to return to that level.

The Texas Rangers playing Willie Calhoun sparingly for the rest of the season is understandable. It is not ideal, but it is understandable.

With that said, they better have a plan for him next season, and that plan better be at the major league level. The Rangers have a surplus of outfielders now and that surplus will become even more extreme once their #1 and #3 prospects surface to the major over the next couple of seasons. They need to have a feel for their present and future everyday outfield by the start of 2019 spring training.

Next. Rangers: Rougned Odor and the Art of Patience. dark

Willie Calhoun should have the opportunity to showcase his talents as the team’s everyday left fielder to start the 2019 season. At the very least, Texas will have closure as to what kind of player he can be. Perhaps Calhoun becomes a trade chip mid-season, or maybe he plays terribly and gets sent down. Either way, the Texas Rangers will finally have some answers from their 23-year-old #2 prospect.

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