Rangers prospect Willie Calhoun hit .300/.355/.527 with 31 homers in Triple-A last year, splitting time between the Dodgers and Rangers organization after coming over in the Yu Darvish trade. After a cup of September coffee it was assumed he’d be in the mix to break camp with Texas this spring and start the season as the team’s left fielder.
Nah. The Rangers sent him down today.
Like a lot of top prospects, there is probably a service time element to all of this, in that if Calhoun stays down into May, the Rangers will gain a season of team control over him. It is said, however, that he could use some work on defense, so it’s probably not 100% service time related. I mean, yes, “he needs to work on his defense” is often an excuse used to cover for blatant service time manipulation, but from what I’ve read, it’s legitimate in Calhoun’s case too.
Either way, as he plies his trade at Round Rock, Drew Robinson and/or Ryan Rua should slot into left for the Rangers in the season’s opening weeks.
Braves 21-year-old outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. nabbed his 30th stolen base of the season on Friday, becoming the second-youngest player in Major League history to produce at least 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in a single season. Per MLB Stats, the only other player under 22 years old to pull off the feat is Mike Trout, who did so with 30 home runs and 49 stolen bases during his age-20 season in 2012.
Acuña’s triumphant moment came in the eighth inning of Friday’s game against the Mets. He drew a six-pitch walk against righty reliever Seth Lugo, then waited for an opportune moment as Ozzie Albies stepped to the plate. Lugo fired a 93-m.p.h. fastball to Albies for ball no. 2, which was promptly returned to second base by catcher Wilson Ramos. The throw came in high, however; Amed Rosario had to jump to make the catch, allowing Acuña to slide safely into the bag and hit his career mark.
It’s been an eventful season for the All-Star outfielder, whose 36 home runs and 30 stolen bases helps pad a .294/.377/.536 batting line and 5.1 fWAR over 597 plate appearances. Through the first 11 innings of Friday’s contest, he went 0-for-3 with a pair of walks and a stolen base.