Over the past handful of seasons, the Los Angeles Angels have had a difficult time finding a consistent lead-off hitter. Well the solution to that persistent problem is lying right in front of them in the form outfielder Kole Calhoun.
Calhoun burst onto the scene last season for the Halos after being called up in late July to fill Albert Pujols‘ roster spot when he suffered a season-ending torn Fascia in his left foot. The 26-year-old from that time on took advantage of his opportunity as he batted .282 with eight home runs and 32 RBIs in 58 games played. This also included a solid finish in the final month of the season as he batted .307 with three home runs, 18 RBIs, 13 runs scored and collected hits in 17 out of 18 games.
For this upcoming season, Calhoun is expected to be the team’s starting left fielder and lead-off hitter — both of which appear to be locks as he is in the midst of a solid spring training, hitting .304 with one home run, seven RBIs, 10 runs scored, eight walks and three stolen bases in 15 games played. These numbers are quite telling of Calhoun adjusting to his new role as the lead-off hitter with his patience at the plate with as his eight walks are tied for a team-high this spring training.
Overall, his production and patience at the plate are both encouraging signs for the Halos as they hope that Calhoun can translate that over to this upcoming season. If he is able to get on base on a consistent basis in 2014, it will likely increase the number of runs driven in by the hitters behind him in the lineup in Mike Trout, Pujols, Josh Hamilton and so on and so forth.
There is no question that Los Angeles has a potent offense, but it ultimately has to start at the top of the batting order with the lead-off hitter. Calhoun appears to be ready to fill that position to best of his ability.