Texas Rangers Activate Hunter Pence
A fan favorite is coming back to the ball diamond. After a strained groin sidelined Hunter Pence back in mid-June, the 13-year veteran will grace the field once more.
Pence will resume what has been a resurgent season in 2019, where he became one of three Texas Rangers to get an All-Star bid. Before the injury, Pence put out a slash line of .294/.353/.608 with 15 home runs and 48 RBI through 215 plate appearances. The 36-year-old outfielder has continued to prove his worth, posting a 1.6 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) rating. If it stands, it will mark the 12th season Pence has posted a WAR mark of 1.0 or higher.
With the return of Pence to the starting lineup, it means another trip back down to Triple-A Nashville for Willie Calhoun. Calhoun, a former fourth-round draft pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers, came into the Rangers organization as part of the big trade that also included right-handed pitcher A.J. Alexy and shortstop Brendon Davis in a package that sent Yu Darvish to the Dodgers back in 2017.
Calhoun, a former top prospect within the Rangers organization, has had his fair share of call-ups and demotions within his playing tenure. The 24-year-old slugger has been called up twice before. His first major league stint came for 13 games in 2017. He found his way back to the Rangers in 2018 for a 35-game stint. Calhoun hit .265 and .222, respectively, during those two call-ups. Eight of those hits went for extra bases.
Calhoun’s claim to fame has been his hitting ability, drawing a lot of hype out of Benicia High School in California. Calhoun came into the league as a second baseman and then moved to the outfield, but it became clear quickly that the DH position may be the best place for him as he never fielded positive defensive numbers. His best defensive season came in 2017, where he posted a -2.2 DEF (Defensive Runs Above Average). That has placed his value solely in the hitting department.
While the demotion may be looked at as Calhoun being the odd man out, it can also be looked at as a chance to improve his game once more. With defense being a liability, the hitting has been his one trick, and lately, that hasn’t gone well. Over the last ten outings, Calhoun has put together a low slash line of .161/.188/.258 with one home run and a mere three RBI.
The dream is not over
To those who are worried that Calhoun may not see the major league ranks again, fear not. Calhoun has showcased a lot of plus-talent that earned him a fourth-round draft selection in the first place. According to ROTOWIRE, Calhoun has been slightly above average in hard-hit rate (38.7%) with an isolated power mark of .213. That goes to show the power and the efficiency is still there. If it weren’t for Hunter Pence coming back, Calhoun could very well still be playing for Texas. For now, however, it will be another stint in the minor leagues.
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