Is Kole Calhoun Ready To Make the Leap?

Updated: February 12, 2017

The Angels currently employ the best player in the world, Mike Trout. They also currently employ a sure-fire first ballot hall of famer in Albert Pujols. They also haven’t been all that good for years. All of these things have combined to overshadow one of the most underrated players in baseball;

The Red Baron, Kole Calhoun. Calhoun has already earned a bit of hardware, winning a Gold Glove in 2015, but he’s developing a solid, all-around game, and could be poised to press himself into the conversation of elite players. Calhoun earned a shot at a starting position after putting together a strong showing in 2013, batting .282/.347/.462 with an .808 OPS and eight home runs in only 222 plate appearances, and seized the spot in right field by putting together a .272/.325/.450 slash line with an .776 OPS and seventeen home runs over a full season in 2014 while playing excellent defense.

Calhoun’s slash line would regress a bit to .256/.308/.422 in 2015, but he would make up for it with twenty-six home runs and a Gold Glove. Calhoun really put together a solid all-around season in 2016, however, with a strong slash line of .271/.348/.438 with an OPS of .786, along with eighteen home runs. Kole also cut his strikeouts by forty-six and walked twenty-two more times.

All of this points to a player who is currently developing every aspect of his game into a positive. Already a strong defender with power, Kole took a big step towards improving his plate discipline and on-base ability last season, and he scored ninety-one runs on the strength of being able to get on base in front of Trout and Pujols. The Angels will need more of the same this season from Kole, as he’ll be relied upon to pick up his game with Pujols potentially missing some time.

If Kole can continue to develop his on-base skills, he could become one of the most valuable players in baseball. Kole already has decent power, and could easily hit twenty home runs while getting on base and playing Gold Glove caliber defense.

Not only has Kole continued to improve in the field and at bat, Kole also has all the intangibles you look for; he’s a “bulldog,” a player who plays the game hard, makes no excuses, and leads by example. He’s a strong leader in the clubhouse, as well, and always a positive force in the dugout.

Kole is a player who works hard at his game, another reason to believe Kole will continue to improve his game. I expect Kole to make a big leap this season, with a slash line closer to .290/.350/.465 with twenty or more home runs, good plate-discipline, and great defense, and I also predict Calhoun makes his first All Star game this season. The Angels are going to be contenders this year, and a big part of that will be Calhoun making the leap into becoming one of the best all-around players in baseball.

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