Yankees’ reserve outfielder has cemented his roster spot

willie calhoun, yankees
Mar 13, 2023; Fort Myers, Florida, USA; New York Yankees designated hitter Willie Calhoun (24) hits a base hit against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning during spring training at Hammond Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday, the New York Yankees divided their doubleheader victories with the Chicago White Sox, losing the initial game 6-5 but securing the second match 3-0.

An unlikely hero emerged, contributing significantly to their offensive efforts – a player whose role had been under scrutiny for months but who now seems to have established his place in the team: Willie Calhoun.

The once highly-touted prospect, now 28, went 3-for-8 with a home run, a double, two runs, and three total RBI across the two games, demonstrating his substantial progress since spring training and evolving into a credible threat.

Calhoun has hit his seventh double and fourth home run of the season, delivering average league offense (99 wRC+) during a period when the Yankees have been wrestling with injuries. There was a time when the team was without the likes of Harrison Barnes, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and other key players. However, Calhoun has been steadily enhancing his offensive contribution at the most opportune moment.

Calhoun’s contribution to the Yankees’ offense has been notable:

For the year, he’s slashing .244/.316/.403, and from May 24 onward, he’s at .308/.372/.513, with five doubles, a home run, a 148 wRC+ and an average exit velocity of 93.8 mph. The best part? He’s struck out only 7.1 percent of the time during this period.

In Calhoun, the Yankees have found a batter with unrealized potential that is just beginning to surface. As long as he’s not playing every day, it will indeed be challenging for him, but he’s been adept at maximizing his opportunities.

Despite his defensive shortcomings and lack of contribution on the basepaths, Calhoun’s value (and his roster spot) is inherently tied to his batting performance. Lately, he’s been delivering in that department, and as long as this continues, the Yankees will be more than satisfied to have him on the team.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: