At the trade deadline the Texas Rangers traded long-time starting stalwart Yu Darvish to the Los Angeles Dodgers for three prospects: infielders Willie Calhoun and Brendon Davis, and right-handed pitcher A.J. Alexy. Here’s a quick take on the newest members of the Rangers farm system.
A.J. Alexy, RHP: Alexy was a bit under-the-radar among Dodgers prospects but that was starting to change even before this trade. Drafted in the 11th round in 2016 from high school in Elverson, Pennsylvania, Alexy jumped from rookie ball in ‘16 to the full-season Low-A Midwest League in 2017, posting a 3.67 ERA in 74 innings so far with an 86/37 K/BB and just 46 hits allowed for the Great Lakes Loons.
Alexy is listed at 6-4, 195, born April 21st, 1998. Midwest League sources describe a pitcher with a low-90s fastball, mixing in a curveball and change-up that both flash plus but are inconsistent. He is very projectable physically and has made a lot of progress over the last 12 months.
Willie Calhoun, 2B: Unlike Alexy, Calhoun has been on the radar awhile. Drafted in the fourth round in 2015 from Yavapai Junior college, Calhoun mashed his way to Triple-A in less than two years and is currently hitting .298/.357/.574 with 23 homers, 36 walks, and 49 strikeouts in 373 at-bats for Oklahoma City.
Calhoun is 5-8, 190, pounds born November 4th, 1994. He features outstanding bat speed and power from the left side, along with a solid feel for the strike zone and an unusually high contact rate for a productive slugger.
The questions for Calhoun come down to defense. He doesn’t have much speed and his arm would fit best at second base or left field. His range is below average at all positions. He’s done a decent job cutting back on errors and holds a solid .980 fielding percentage at second base this year, but despite this improvement many observers are skeptical about his ability to play the position full-time in the majors.
Glove questions or not, Calhoun’s bat could be special.
Brendon Davis, 3B-2B: The Dodgers drafted Davis in the fifth round in 2015 from high school in Lakewood, California. He opened 2017 with Great Lakes and hit .245/.357/.403 in 310 at-bats. Promoted to the High-A California League last week, he was hitting .200/.273/.400 in his first 30 at-bats.
Davis is listed at 6-4, 185, a right-handed hitter born July 28th, 1997. He’s a bundle of hitting tools with raw power that stands out on the field but issues with selectivity, contact, and swing mechanics have muted his production. He’s only 20 years old so he still has plenty of time to work on these problems and the Rangers have helped similar hitters succeed.
Davis has split his time this year between second and third base with better results at the former position. Although he’s spent his entire pro career in the infield, I wonder if he might end up in the outfield eventually.