How should the Texas Rangers handle Willie Calhoun in 2019?

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SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 05: Outfielder Willie Calhoun #5 of the Texas Rangers during the spring training game against the San Francisco Giants at Surprise Stadium on March 5, 2018 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 05: Outfielder Willie Calhoun #5 of the Texas Rangers during the spring training game against the San Francisco Giants at Surprise Stadium on March 5, 2018 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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If Willie Calhoun wants to avoid yet another minor league assignment, he’ll need to prove a ton to the Texas Rangers this spring.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about how the Texas Rangers cornered themselves in the handling of Willie Calhoun. Calhoun has not helped Texas from a performance standpoint, but the reality is the team has nowhere for him to play. They essentially acquired a player who lacks defensive ability, and who doesn’t hit well enough to force his way in the lineup.

Calhoun is 24 years old and he’s now played two full seasons of Triple-A baseball. Returning to Triple-A to start the 2019 season is a definite possibility; however, his timeline indicates an emergence at the big league level. He’ll have to earn it.

The Texas Rangers have enough offensive and positional depth to where they won’t have to grant Calhoun a roster spot. There will be a battle for a fourth outfielder come spring training, but that’s a duty more so focused on defense than offense. Plus, it’s not ideal for a young talent to receive spotty playing time with a rotational role.

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SURPRISE, AZ – MARCH 05: Willie Calhoun #5 of the Texas Rangers bats 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) /

Again, Willie Calhoun just doesn’t fit anywhere.

The Rangers aren’t obligated to play him in the major leagues, and their offense should perform with or without him in the lineup. Ultimately, it’s going to come down to Calhoun. How badly does he want to become an everyday player?

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Texas acquired him from the Dodgers because he was a good hitter. He was a good enough hitter throughout his minor league career that he became one of the organization’s top prospects upon arrival. So, it’s time he proves just how good of a hitter he can be – in the big leagues.

First of all, he’ll need to show up to spring training in shape. Gerry Fraley of Dallas SportsDay shared some direct insight from Calhoun regarding his offseason weight loss progress. The 24-year-old is certainly on a good path. We’ll see if it translates to success in a matter of months.

He’ll need to really impress throughout spring training, hitting for average and power, but also showing patience at the plate and the ability to control the strike zone. Calhoun just looked overwhelmed and overpowered in his major league action this past season. Hopefully the game will slow down for him in 2019. That may be all it takes for him to permanently break onto the scene.

Spring training success is often deceiving; however, that’s the freshest impression a young player can make on a coaching staff. If the Texas Rangers were forced to locate Willie Calhoun today, they’d probably send him to Triple-A, once again.

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Luckily for Calhoun, a decision doesn’t have to be made today. He’ll have a chance to reassert himself soon enough. He better bring his A+ game, or else it’s back to the minors.

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