The New York Yankees have a knack for finding talent and extracting the absolute most out of an individual. Considering what management has done with players like Clay Holmes and even Matt Carpenter last season, it is no surprise they’re adding talented players with high upside on Minor League deals and spring training invites.
General manager Brian Cashman‘s latest edition is Willie Calhoun, one of the league’s top prospects from years ago. Drafted back in 2015 by the Los Angeles Dodgers, Calhoun is currently 28 years old.
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The Yankees should keep taking shots on players like Willie Calhoun:
At 5-foot-8 and 200 pounds, he spent the 2022 season with the Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants. He played in just 22 games, hitting .135 with a 27.4% on-base rate. Calhoun‘s best season came back in 2019 when he played 83 games, hitting 21 homers with 48 RBIs and a .269 average. He recorded 110 wRC+ that season with a 32.3% on-base rate and 15.7% strikeout rate. His sample size has been relatively small, given he’s never played over 100 games in his career, but the Yankees are willing to give him an opportunity as a reserve who may end up landing on their Triple-A affiliate in Scranton.
Calhoun isn’t going to blow any minds with his quality, but there’s a reason he was a former top prospect years ago. He’s capable of hitting for power and ranks above average in strikeout rate. At 28 years old, it can’t hurt to see what he can do with a revised hitting strategy and different coaching. He’s only ever really featured with Texas, and we saw what the Yankees did with Jose Treviño last year.
Given the team needs a new left fielder, adding players who are looking to compete isn’t a bad strategy, even if the odds of Willie panning out are low.