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Willie Calhoun makes debut for Texas Rangers

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Key prospect in Yu Darvish trade with Dodgers arrives in the majors

Seattle Mariners v Texas Rangers Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Yesterday the Texas Rangers promoted infielder/outfielder Willie Calhoun to the major league roster, inserting him into the lineup as the left fielder in their contest against the Seattle Mariners. Calhoun was in the headlines back on July 31st when he was the key prospect acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Yu Darvish trade. Here’s a quick update.

The Dodgers originally drafted Calhoun in the fourth round in 2015 from Yavapai Junior College in Arizona. He was drafted for his bat and that’s turned out remarkably well.

Here’s the trade deadline report on Calhoun:

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.

Calhoun hit .310/.345/.566 for Triple-A Round Rock after the trade, finishing at .300/.355/.572 on the season with 31 homers, 42 walks, and 61 strikeouts in 486 at-bats.

There’s really no question here about the hitting: he can mash. But where do you play him?

As noted in the deadline report he has improved at second base with a dramatic reduction in his error rate this year. However, his infield range remains questionable and left field may ultimately be his best position. The pressure on corner outfield bats is heavy but so far Calhoun has mastered pro pitching. Will that remain true in the majors?

Yes, I think it will.