Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 10/17/13
OK, so Trout might be more gifted physically, but Calhoun will turn heads too in 2014.I find it funny that teams think big ticket free agent signings and large payrolls are conducive to success (and yes, I’m aware of the irony that I root for the Red Sox, one of the biggest spenders out there).But as you’ll certainly recall, it was those very free agent signings that sent the Sox spiraling towards 69 wins in 2012, and over the last two years the Los Angeles Angels haven’t done much with one of the game’s largest payrolls.Enter Kole Calhoun, a low profile hustler who grinds out at-bats and does enough of the right things to have a noticeably positive impact for his team. Players like Calhoun don’t usually cash in when they hit free agency, and they don’t usually become franchise cornerstones, but when the season is over you have a hard time imagining their team succeeding quite as much without them.And by the way, that last paragraph can also be read as fantasy team and not just the Angels.With 20/20 potential, good plate discipline, and a hopeful starting role in lineup that finished 7th in runs in a down year, Calhoun will probably provide fantasy owners with a great ROI in 2014.Why Calhoun Might Break OutAveraged 17.3 HR/500 PA in professional career (majors & minors)ISO of .210+ at every stop shows consistent power (.179 in 222 PA with LAA)SB totals of 20, 13, and 12 in last three seasonsCareer 11.6 BB%, 16.9 K%Career .393 OBP, including .347 with LAA in ’13Since start of ’12 Calhoun’s minor league LD% has been well above league averages.312/.380/.511 against LHP in minor league career as a left-handed batterWhy Calhoun Might NOT Break OutWith Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton entrenched in the LAA outfield, there’s only one spot for Calhoun, J.B. Shuck, and Peter BourjosCalhoun’s defense is average at best, so he’ll need to produce with his bat to stickCalhoun played in the PCL in ’12 and ’13, known for inflating offensive numbersAdding onto PCL concerns, Angel Stadium is a pitcher’s park, so the transition might be toughWhat Scouts SayFrom ScoutingBook.com:A standout while at Arizona State, Angel outfielder Kole Calhoun is a raw but toolsy prospect with quality on-base ability and a capable glove in the field. While he doesn’t the size or power usually associated with a corner outfielder, he’s got enough else in the toolbox to get to the big leagues regardless. The .298/.369/.507 he slashed in AAA Salt Lake (PCL) last season might not look eye-popping, but for a player who skipped AA altogether, it’s pretty darn good.Fun (Possibly Relevant?) FactCalhoun attended Arizona State, the alma mater of another unheralded, scrappy hitter who works counts and has turned himself into a fantasy stalwart: Dustin Pedroia.2014 Fantasy OutlookA semi-aggressive projection of 70 R, 15 HR, 70 RBI, 10 SB, and a .285 BA over 500 PA would have landed Calhoun 73rd among all batters in 2013…With Shuck and Bourjos potentially stealing at-bats, playing time will be Calhoun’s biggest obstacle in 2014. That said, Bourjos has been on the trading block for awhile now, and Calhoun’s success with the Angels in 2013 should assuage any concerns that the team doesn’t have an internal replacement.As for Shuck, defensive metrics suggest he’s a poor fielder, probably worse than Calhoun, despite that amazing catch he had. Also, I haven’t watched enough Angels games to know, but I’ve read that Mike Scioscia routinely takes Shuck out the game in the late innings for a defensive replacement. Offensively, Shuck has almost zero power to speak of, though he does grind out at-bats like Calhoun.In the end, I think Calhoun winds up receiving the lion’s share of LA’s left field at-bats in 2014. Assuming this is the case (say, 450-500 PA) we can bank on something in the vicinity of 15 HR and 8-12 SB with a .280+ BA that could threaten to head north of .300. His run and RBI totals will depend on lineup slot, but Calhoun’s minor league profile shows he’s equally adept at contributing in both areas — 264 R and 263 RBI in 1,578 PA (or 84 apiece per 500 PA).I doubt Calhoun will crack the top 250 in terms of draft stock next season, but if the Angels move Bourjos in the offseason we could see a good amount of buzz surrounding Calhoun’s fantasy prospects and his stock might rise. Still, I think he has the tools to be a top 150 player. A semi-aggressive projection of 70 R, 15 HR, 70 RBI, 10 SB, and a .285 BA over 500 PA would have landed Calhoun 73rd among all batters in 2013 using Baseball Professor’s new rankings formula!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Cowboys believe Bryant is bluffing about missing games

Steel workers on Kings arena wrote ‘Go Warriors’ on materials

Report: Cavs could put Love on trading block within next year

Red Sox GM: 'Time to think about' team being sellers

Cardinals fire scouting director in hacking scandal fallout


Report: Lakers to get second meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge

Antonio Gates suspended four games for violating drug policy

Tim Duncan officially returning to Spurs for another season

Rolando McClain suspended four games for substance abuse

Jets' Richardson suspended four games for violating drug policy

Report: Aldridge not impressed with Lakers' branding pitch

Report: Mavericks sign Wes Matthews to four-year contract

Dwyane Wade celebrates deal with tea, painted toenails

Coach K at fan town hall: 'I have no thoughts on retiring'

Carroll doesn’t just bring skill to Toronto; he brings relevance

Lakers and Knicks: Piece by piece with no shortcuts

Bubba Watson to paint over Confederate flag on General Lee

Brewery offers Aldridge free beer for life if he stays a Blazer

P. Diddy avoids felony charges in incident at UCLA

Day 1 of Greenbrier Classic nets golf fans $192,400

Mike Scioscia took down Mike Trout’s Nerf basketball hoop

What the Greg Monroe signing means for the Bucks

Former broadcaster Peter Oosterhuis has early on-set Alzheimer’s disease

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Solo, Rapinoe among USWNT stars up for World Cup awards

LBS on Sports Jeopardy! Here's how how it went

College football's 35 most patriotic helmets

A brief history of non-star All-Stars

With Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Orioles keep finding a way to win

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Selecting the 2015 AL All-Stars

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.