HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA–Breathe, Grey, breathe! I am wheezing thinking about going back in on Willie Calhoun as a sleeper. I am bent over a toilet coughing up chunks of past sleeper posts, swearing that I will never write another Willie Calhoun sleeper post, yet, yup, here we are. Ya know how when you fake throw a tennis ball to a dog, and the first five times they will still run out, but invariably by the sixth time, they’re like, “I’m not an idiot, you’ve dropped the tennis ball backwards instead of throwing it.” That’s what this Willie Calhoun sleeper post is. How many of you are still running out, panting, expecting the tennis ball? None? I don’t blame you. How’sever, here we are, panting, hundred yards out, looking for a tennis ball, hoping it was thrown this time. So, what can we expect from Willie Calhoun for 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

One thing you have to subtract from previous excitement for Willie Calhoun is we were jumping the gun on how soon the Rangers would make him a regular. It’s not like he was bad in 2016, 2017, or 2019. Okay, he wasn’t good in the majors in 2018, but still. I have no faith in the Rangers doing right by their prospects. They went out and got Calhoun from the Dodgers, and then let him lose all interest in playing baseball in the minors. Last year in Triple-A and majors combined, he hit 29 homers and .277. So, he’s Michael Conforto. There’s value to that with 550 ABs. Do believe that’s his baseline. There’s upside on his average and power. His line drives are a little on the low side, but his fly balls are on the high side (literally!). First, the average. He just turned 25 years old and he had a 15.7% strikeout rate, and 14% in the minors last year. Shouldn’t come as a surprise for you that in today’s game that’s a low K%. There was 30 guys who did as well, only two of those hit below .255:  Jurickson Profar and Pujols. Don’t want to sidetrack this too dramatically, but those guys have issues Calhoun does not have. Pujols doesn’t strike out, but after he hits the ball, he has to wait for his motorized scooter to drive him to 1st, and Profar hits everything about as slow as Pujols runs. If you’re not striking out, good things can happen. It’s not a fluke that Calhoun hit .294 in Triple-A in 2018, and .297 last year. He can hit for power like Conforto, but he’s going to blow his average out of the water like he’s playing the Bermuda triangle like it’s a musical triangle and he has a doctorate in triangles from a music conservatory. After perusing countless of batted ball profiles for the perfect comparison, I hit on Didi Gregorius. Willie Calhoun is The Gregorius Will.I.Am. Okay, that made me shudder, but him and Gregorius are very similar, and I imagine Didi will have projections close to 27/7/.270 and Calhoun will(ie) too. (Another guy I liked for a comparison was DeJong, but with Calhoun having a way better average and strikeout rate, like a rich man’s DeJong. Call him Willie Nothing-to-Poupon.) For 2020, I’ll give Willie Calhoun projections of 62/27/77/.282/5 in 524 ABs with a chance for more, especially on the counting stats.

 
  1. Curious George says:
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    Grey! I want to buy in this year on Calhoun – hoping Texas just gives him the reigns fully. I was able to draft him at 193 overall!

    I am at an impasse now – Khris Davis has fallen to me at pick 208… but I already have ohtani in my dh slot. 40 round best ball, are you buying in on talent even though they both can’t play, or passing?

    (My preferred option if anyone would like to see to it that this gets to the powers that be in Oakland is blindly hoping Khrush plays the first ten games of the year in the outfield as a sort of repentance for what he did to fantasy owners last season)

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
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      I’d say it’s a little early for a 2nd UTIL only. Also, I don’t think players typically gain eligibility in best ball, but it might depend on your platform.

      Who are your other options there?

      • Curious George says:
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        Hmmm I’m not sure on getting eligibility midseason – it’s a relatively standard Fantrax bestball.

        Other options besides Davis I’m considering include: Adell (not crazy about waiting on him in best ball though), buxton (don’t love the injury risk), senzel, j Upton (probably my top consideration), pollock, Voit, Hosmer, Chavis, r Nunez. Also could go b McKay (who I just can’t quit) or McCullers. I’m the 8th pick of 10 so it will wrap back to me pretty quickly. This will be my first backup player I’m drafting (so position isn’t critical, just changes how my next set of picks goes). Thanks for the input!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          UTIL only doesn’t bother me much in Best Ball, it’ll put him in if he’s good, if it’s not, he’ll sit parked on your bench — of all of those tho, I’d go McCullers

          • Curious George says:
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            That makes sense – favorite hitter I listed?

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Bux

              He’s great for short periods of time, which is great for Best Ball

        • Donkey Teeth

          Donkey Teeth says:
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          So this is an important wrinkle to Fantrax best ball. Every player is eligible at one position and only one position….part of their scoring algorithm I guess.

          Ohtani and Khris Davis should both be OF eligible there which is a big plus.

          I dig McCullers there as well though.

        • Curtis says:
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          Fantrax bestball doesn’t allow for positional eligibility at all (or at least didn’t last year – you were limited to primary position), whereas NFBC Cutline does (and you can gain additional eligibility midseason, as Hunter Dozier did last year).

      • Curious George says:
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        C
        1B Edwin Encarnacion – (N/A) 10/93
        2B Keston Hiura – MIL 7/68
        2B Gavin Lux – LAD 17/168
        3B Manny Machado – SD 8/73
        3B Jose Ramirez – CLE 4/33
        SS Adalberto Mondesi – KC 11/108
        OF Ronald Acuna Jr. – ATL 1/8
        OF Yordan Alvarez – HOU 5/48
        OF Willie Calhoun – TEX 20/193
        OF David Dahl – COL 16/153
        OF Juan Soto – WAS 2/13
        OF Shohei Ohtani – LAA 13/128
        P Walker Buehler – LAD 3/28
        P Carlos Carrasco – CLE 12/113
        P Corey Kluber – CLE 9/88
        P Dinelson Lamet – SD 15/148
        P Carlos Martinez – STL 19/188
        P David Price – BOS 14/133
        P Chris Sale – BOS 6/53
        P Luke Weaver – ARI 18/173

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Actually don’t mind Davis there… I don’t buy a bounce back but that price seems hard to pass up

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Of course, other options could be helpful

      • Curious George says:
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        Why no bounce back for Davis?

        Other options besides Davis I’m considering include: Adell (not crazy about waiting on him in best ball though), buxton (don’t love the injury risk), senzel, j Upton (probably my top consideration), pollock, Voit, Hosmer, Chavis, r Nunez. Also could go b McKay (who I just can’t quit) or McCullers. I’m the 8th pick of 10 so it will wrap back to me pretty quickly. This will be my first backup player I’m drafting (so position isn’t critical, just changes how my next set of picks goes). Thanks for the input!

        C
        1B Edwin Encarnacion – (N/A) 10/93
        2B Keston Hiura – MIL 7/68
        2B Gavin Lux – LAD 17/168
        3B Manny Machado – SD 8/73
        3B Jose Ramirez – CLE 4/33
        SS Adalberto Mondesi – KC 11/108
        OF Ronald Acuna Jr. – ATL 1/8
        OF Yordan Alvarez – HOU 5/48
        OF Willie Calhoun – TEX 20/193
        OF David Dahl – COL 16/153
        OF Juan Soto – WAS 2/13
        OF Shohei Ohtani – LAA 13/128
        P Walker Buehler – LAD 3/28
        P Carlos Carrasco – CLE 12/113
        P Corey Kluber – CLE 9/88
        P Dinelson Lamet – SD 15/148
        P Carlos Martinez – STL 19/188
        P David Price – BOS 14/133
        P Chris Sale – BOS 6/53
        P Luke Weaver – ARI 18/173

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Answered above — McCullers

  2. Ante Galic says:
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    Grey!!!

    Great sleeper report!

    a. Free Willie.

    b. Willie is so bad he reminds me of that Jazz ballad standard ‘Willow, weep for me’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=my0dXWrN_1M), courtesy of the almighty Dexter Gordon. Seriously his defense is atrocious and the logjam at DH and 1B….He’s a liability even in LF!!! Call him ‘Willie, weep for me’ and queue that ballad for him when he comes to the plate.

    c. Otherwise, all good. Booked the hotel for our honeymoon/20th wedding anniversary in Amsterdam (Hotel Okura) only 5.5 months in advance. For sure everything will go smoothly!! Now all I have to do is survive until then! Got a 10% discount for booking online (yes!) and then used that savings to buy 2 IAMsterdam cards which lasts for 5 days (maximum). So done and done. There’s 2 restaurants that I will book – one is this (http://vuurtoreneiland.nl/reserveren/) and the other is that (https://www.cielbleu.nl/). I’m leaning the former for our wedding anniversary ’cause it’s on an island, there’s no power so everything is candle lights and bread ovens (what could go wrong) and the latter for the day after. The latter is literally steps from our hotel so we can go there, enjoy the 5-course meal for 150$ (gulp) and a bottle of their finest red wine and then just go to the hotel and crash. Both restaurants are reservation only and have to be booked 3 months in advance!!

    Cheers,
    Ante

    • Charles Stevens says:
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      Fangraphs had Willie’s LF defense(-9) rated around the same as Tommy Pham(-7.5), Juan Soto(-7.5) and Bryan Reynolds(-7.6).

      Willie lost a lot of weight last offseason and was a 2B for years before being transitioned to OF. Let’s give him some time before we go calling him a DH.

      cheers

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Amen, Charles Stevens!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      A. He might be free!

      B. So…bad? Oh, Ante, why do you say such things?

      C. That’s awesome! The 1st restaurant in a slam dunk…That’s making me feel romantic! Ya know…Cougs and I are gonna be in Europe in January

      • Ante Galic says:
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        Grey!!

        a. Him and Eloy (White Sox) look pretty bad in the field. It might limit their ABs but for those two teams who will both be bad…it may not matter. Good luck with Willie, I’m looking elsewhere.

        b. Not so bad, but bad enough.

        c. Slam dunk on the first, thanks a million boss. Best of luck in Europe in January. It will be mighty cold in Paris, Brussels and the north of continental Europe ’cause the north wind blows cold air. South of Spain, France, Italy (especially Sicilia and Sardinia) should be great, might be a bit windy. Greece also might be good. Would definitely avoid the UK – especially North Midlands – for a very good chance of rain.

        Cheers,
        Ante

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          A. Damn, such a hater! Fair enough, Ante…

          C. UK for a few days then Paris for 10 days… It’s Cougs’ bday so it is what it is on the weather

          • Ante Galic says:
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            Grey!!

            a. Seriously, I have to stop hating because it is negatively impacting on my fantasy teams. There should be no face or race or defense that should stop someone from selecting a good bat. But my brain moves away from players like Eloy and Willie because of the poor defense. Help me stop doing that.

            b. Well, let’s hope for warm weather then in the time that you’re there. Paris is awesome always, make sure you have your credit card locked and loaded. My booking to stay at this hotel (https://www.lenarcisseblanc.com/index.php), was rejected because the card I used was not a ‘credit card’. It’s not a debit card either. The 5-star hotel in Amsterdam was able to help me and get around this issue, the 5-star hotel in Paris was not. Therefore I chose Amsterdam. Good luck, man.

            Cheers,
            Ante

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              A. Just remember, our leagues don’t care about defense

              B. Haha, your credit card was rejected bc it wasn’t a ‘credit card’ — I’ll be honest, I’m with the hotel on this one, I wouldn’t accept ‘not a credit card’ either

  3. Lion O says:
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    Trying to trade Wilson Contreras. Is Willie a good target or am I risking a little much. I also have Carson Kelly on my roster so I won’t be catcherless.

    12 team, 30 man roster, keep 21

    • Five-on-One says:
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      Aim higher

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
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      It’s fair, I’d take Willie there assuming its a one catcher league.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Do think you can do better

  4. Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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    Willie feels like the guy who can do a 2019 Devers. Not that extreme on counting stats, but he seems capable of throwing up a .300 32 100/100 5 if everything breaks well and Rangers put him in the 3/4/5 hole for most of the season.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yeah, good call!

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        (Hopefully)

      • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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        Certainly has that feeling to it! Devers was a non-factor last draft season.

        Either that or Tommy La Stella just comes along and reminds us all that he was pacing for an insane and perplexingly sustainable season in 2019 and just does that for a full season.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          I heard Maddon say he’s been in constant communication with La Stella… I like to imagine it goes like this: “I hit home runs now!” …. “I don’t believe you.”

          • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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            Lol! Here’s hoping it’s more like:

            JOE: “Hey Ben, we’re going to get you innings at MI, CI, OF, and maybe a little catcher this year.”

            TOMMY: “My name’s Tommy and I hit home runs now.”

            JOE: “That’s OK Ben, you do you and we’ll get you in there everyday”.

            TOMMY: “I’M NOT BEN ZOBRIST!”

            JOE: “Classic Ben…”

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              HA

              “Say hello to your wife for me.”

              “Okay, if I were Ben I’d be really insulted right now.”

              • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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                lol!

  5. Not the real Hubie Brooks says:
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    Hi, Grey. Is January Grey in the building yet? Would I be insane to trade Villar for Giancarlo in a keeper league?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      December Grey here, and I’d take Giancarlo

      • Not the real Hubie Brooks says:
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        Thanks! You’ll do.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Haha, thanks!

  6. Malicious Phenoms says:
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    Trade Villar and Laureano for Moncada?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Nah

  7. Scott Kimmel says:
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    Grey,

    I have a chance to acquire Dallas Keuchel. They are asking for Alex Young (which I have no problem moving), and Nick Senzel (who I am against moving). Should I offer someone like Markakis or Eddie Rosario for Keuchel? What are your thoughts?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Markakis for Keuchel is great for you, but doesn’t seem likely… I’d hold Senzel

      • Scott Kimmel says:
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        Should I offer Markakis and Young for Keuchel?

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Sure

          • Scott Kimmel says:
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            he said no. its Senzel and Young for Keuchel or nothing.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Forget it

              • Scott Kimmel says:
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                already did

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  Cool

  8. Dave D says:
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    I am predicting the Angels announcement in the next 24 hours of signing Cole 8/320.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Hope you’re right just so the Yankees don’t get richer

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Boras is prolly pushing Cole to NY, tbh

          • Dave D says:
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            I can’t imagine living in NYC area when you are fromNewport Beach and your hometown team wants to pay you $35m+ annually. He got married in Newport Beach, went to UCLA and wife went there too. I’d be suprised if he and his wife choose NY, but who knows…

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Angels could sign Cole by opening the talks with, “We hate Trevor Bauer too.”

              • Dave D says:
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                Lol

  9. Sweatpants Nation says:
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    Who’s next up? I know. Trevor Williams!
    Actually, could see him now with no Searage. You liked him two years ago. Never forget. Haha

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Ha, yeah, I don’t know, he might’ve been the one guy who benefitted from Searage

  10. The Great Knoche says:
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    Couldn’t ask for a better landing spot for Didi.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Absolutely!

  11. Dakota says:
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    Great article, Grey. I need your expertise. I am in a 12 team standard 5×5 roto keeper league. We can keep seven players in the round they were drafted, no one from the first 5 rounds. I got didi gregarious off the wire last season, and can keep him in the 24th round. Not that he’s landed on the phillies, what is your take on his value as a late rounder? Thanks!

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