Kole Calhoun Finding His Comfort Zone as Los Angeles Angels’ Leadoff Hitter
Entering his second season in the majors, Kole Calhoun was expected to slide in as the Los Angeles Angels‘ leadoff hitter, but it has been a difficult start to the 2014 season.
In his new role, Calhoun had a productive Spring Training where he batted .282 with three home runs, 13 RBIs and also led the team with 11 walks and 16 runs scored in 23 games played. It had appeared that he was adjusting quite well in his new spot in the lineup, but he struggled out the gate to start the regular season as he hit just .160 (4-for-25) and had six strikeouts through the first six games. However, in the next eight games, he seemed to be finding his groove offensively by hitting .314 (11-for-35) with two home runs, three RBIs and nine runs scored. He also collected hits in seven of the eight games during this stretch.
All that success was put to a halt after a right ankle sprain forced him to miss the next 31 games. When Calhoun returned in late May, he struggled offensively as he hit .179 (5-for-28) and did not get his first hit until his 11th official at-bat coming off the disabled list. But similar to how he began the season, the 26-year-old looks to have found his comfort zone at the plate in the month of June with his .370 batting average, and in the last six games played, he has recorded hits in five games with three of them multi-hit performances. His impressive hitting this month was capped off with a four-hit night against the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday that included a two-run home run and three runs scored.
This is the type of production the Angels had expected from Calhoun to begin the season. His presence at the top of the order is what is going to take the Angels’ offense to the next level, especially given the uptick in production from Mike Trout, Erick Aybar and Albert Pujols this year. If he can continue to hit the ball well and get on base, Los Angeles will become that much more dangerous on offense. This is scary thought for other teams across the league with the Halos already in the top 10 in the league in several hitting categories. So with performances like he had on Tuesday night and his high level of play this month, there is no reason to believe that he won’t sustain his production at the plate and be the Angels’ catalyst offensively moving onward.