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Willie Calhoun: Starting season at Triple-A was “a slap in the face”

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Outfielder Willie Calhoun is listed as the Rangers’ No. 2 prospect and No. 53 overall in baseball. He handled Triple-A really well, batting a composite .300/.355/.572 with 31 home runs and 93 RBI in 534 plate appearances with Oklahoma City (Dodgers) and Round Rock (Rangers).

Calhoun, 23, did struggle in his cup of coffee in the majors last September, batting .265/.324/.353 in 37 plate appearances. He also didn’t have the most impressive spring, batting .243/.282/.324 in 39 PA. But, as MiLB.com’s Gerard Gilberto reports, Calhoun felt that was “a slap in the face” for the Rangers to have him start the 2018 season at Triple-A instead of in the majors.

Of course, service time was the main factor behind that. As mentioned in this post on the Yankees’ Gleyber Torres, once the schedule reaches a certain point in April, teams are assured of an extra year of contractual control over a player who has yet to accrue major league service time. The Rangers would like that extra year of control, of course.

Calhoun said, “I was really mad, just because I felt like I had nothing else to prove here at Triple-A. When you hear that you’re going back to a league after you had such a good year like that … I just kind of felt like it was a slap in the face.”

Calhoun has struggled to begin his 2018 campaign at Round Rock. Entering Sunday, he was batting .256/.275/.359 in 40 PA. But, in what was perhaps a sign he’s breaking out of his slump, Calhoun registered three hits and three RBI on Saturday, extending his hitting streak to six games.