With the LA Angels season over, it is time for individual evaluations. Today, we evaluate Mike Trout‘s longtime running mate, Kole Calhoun.
The LA Angels have had a hole in left field for nearly a decade now. Thanks to Kole Calhoun, right field has been able to have continued success after Torii Hunter left Anaheim. However, Calhoun saw a noticeable decline this season. While it isn’t time for the Halos to panic yet, a poor showing next season could put Calhoun on a hot seat.
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Before this season, Calhoun had a .266 batting average as the everyday right fielder. He was coming off his best season yet, when he hit .271 with 35 doubles, 18 long balls, and 75 RBI’s in 2016. However, his average dropped to .244 this year. While he did add a single home run to his 2016 total, he saw his doubles go down to 23.
Calhoun was also very streaky throughout the year. He saw two months where his average dropped below .200 (.158 and .169 in May and July, respectively). He also saw two months where his average skyrocketed to .300 or above (.324 in June and .300 in August).
Calhoun did find notable success batting in two different spots. He spent most of the season in the second spot, hitting behind Cameron Maybin or Yunel Escobar. He hit .264, much closer to his career average, with 11 double and big flies and 36 RBI’s. However, Brandon Phillips and Justin Upton eventually took over the top of the lineup, forcing Calhoun to the fifth and sixth spots, where he hit .188 and .200, respectively.
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Calhoun also found success in the clean up spot while Trout was out with an injury. In just 90 at-bats there, Calhoun hit five home runs and had a .278 average. That is a home run every 18 at-bats in the clean up spot, compared to every 26.82 in the second spot. If the Angels hope to see a Red Baron revival in 2018, the cleanup spot may be a good home for it to happen.
In the field, Calhoun still possesses the cannon arm that has kept baserunners honest throughout his career. However, there was a noticeable decline in his range. While he still made a good amount of diving catches, there was also an increase in balls landing just ahead of his outstretched glove.
2017 Grade- C+
Calhoun still put together an average season on the offensive end. His defense is also still a plus, which gives him a high C grade. However, as of three days ago, Calhoun is on the wrong side of 30 years old. If he wants to avoid the usual speculation of older ballplayers losing a step once they turn 30, he will need a bounce back 2018 season.