There’s a quote by current Chicago Cubs and former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein. “Baseball is a game based on adversity. It’s a game that’s going to test you repeatedly. It’s going to find your weaknesses and vulnerabilities and force you to adjust. That adversity, in the big picture, is a really good thing because it shows you where your weaknesses are. It gives you the opportunity to improve.” It’s arguable, but no one had more adversity post-spring training than Willie Calhoun.
— June Calhoun (@11WillieCalhoun) March 23, 2019
Calhoun arrived in Arizona early February looking the best he’s ever looked. He installed an excellent work ethic and showed complete determination to make the club come late March. However, odds came against Willie with the success of late offseason signing Hunter Pence. In addition, the Rangers roster had loads of left-handed outfielders. In the end, Calhoun didn’t make the opening day squad, but on Tuesday, May 15th received astounding news. Willie is back in the big leagues joining the Rangers in Kansas City. Calhoun replaced Elvis Andrus, who the Rangers placed on the injured list Tuesday afternoon. Elvis suffered a mild hamstring issue in Monday’s 11-5 loss against the Royals.
During Monday night’s game, Royals television announcers Steve Physioc and thirteen-year veteran Rex Hudler talked about the Royals’ young second baseman Nicky Lopez getting the call up for his first game Monday. They said the Royals called him up because “he was ready.” Also, the broadcast team loved the young kid’s work ethic. “You can’t have a better trait than a work habit trait. If you’re a solid worker, you have a chance to stay here a long time.” It’s a related parallel that is complementary to Willie Calhoun. However, Willie had big league experience prior to 2019.
The “readiness” of Calhoun explains through his success in the minors this season. In thirty-two games, Willie hit .304 with a .416 on-base percentage and only nineteen strikeouts with the Nashville Sounds. After the Dodgers drafted Calhoun in the 2015 June Amateur Draft, Willie was solely a second baseman. In 2017, the Dodgers’ AAA affiliate, the Oklahoma City Dodgers, shifted Willie to the outfield where Calhoun spent specifically in left field. This season, the Rangers organization eased Willie back to second base. At this point, Calhoun played in four games at second for Nashville and hasn’t committed an error.
— Nashville Sounds (@nashvillesounds) May 5, 2019
What makes this opportunity amazing is that the Calhoun is replacing shortstop Elvis Andrus. Calhoun had no exposure at short or at third base. The fact that an outfielder, or Odor, remained on the roster and Calhoun came in to replace a shortstop shows the Rangers are willing to shuffle their roster to make room for Willie Calhoun, based on his ethic, demeanor, and success.
It might be a short one (barring any additional injuries), but it’ll be a productive stint for Calhoun. He’s able to put his hard work to use this off-season and in the first month and a half in the 2019 minor league season. I’m not anticipating him to go off on a tangent, but the fans will witness a strong-minded individual that wants to prove to himself, his peers, and the fans that Willie Calhoun can destroy his adversity, Fortnite style (not literally).
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) May 16, 2019
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