LA Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun has been in a season-long slump at the plate. However Calhoun has still been a key to the Angels success as he has been a standout defensively.
Normally when you see a player hitting .154 it is a great void for a team to fill. For the LA Angels Kole Calhoun has had a disastrous year at the plate so far. However, Calhoun has gone above and beyond defensively in right field making numerous highlight reel catches. In addition Calhoun has also shown to have one of the best arms in baseball.
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So far Calhoun has seven outfield assists including a game-saving one Wednesday night. With the Angels clinging to a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth Calhoun caught a Teoscar Hernandez fly ball and uncorked a laser beam to Angel catcher Martin Maldonado to nail the speedy Curtis Granderson at the plate preserving the lead.
This is not the first time this season that Calhoun’s defense has saved the Angels and their pitchers. If you ask Angel pitchers who they want playing right field they would emphatically say Kole Calhoun. Calhoun has robbed multiple home runs leaping high above the yellow line on the right field scoreboard.
Kole Calhoun won the AL Gold Glove for right field in 2015 and if it was up to me and the Angel pitching staff he will win one again in 2018. There has not been too many players who are hitting .154 and yet could be considered one of their team’s most irreplaceable players. As mentioned earlier Calhoun has seven outfield assists. This does not count how many times Calhoun’s reputation for having a strong arm has dissuaded a runner from even trying to take an extra base.
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I was at a game recently against the Minnesota Twins when a Twins hitter lofted a somewhat deep fly ball to right field. The Twins runner ran back to second base to tag up and possibly advance to third after the ball was caught. Calhoun caught the fly ball and the runner took three steps of the bag toward third base and then put on the brakes. It was a good thing as Calhoun’s throw was on a line perfectly to Zack Cozart who right behind the third base bag. The Angel crowd gave Calhoun a standing ovation in recognition of his throw, me included.
The Angels have many star players including Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Albert Pujols, and Justin Upton. However, none of the aforementioned players can match Calhoun’s defensive prowess. If there was a category in the All-Star voting for designated fielder Kole Calhoun would be a perennial all-star.
Hopefully for Calhoun and the Angels he will find his stroke at the plate sooner rather than later and he will continue to be a standout defensively. I’m calling it now Kole Calhoun for MVD, Most Valuable Defender.