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.