Willie Calhoun: How Much Does Attitude Count?

Look, I am a big Positive Thinker.  I believe that you get what you believe.  A wise man once said:  As you believe so it shall be done unto you.”  I have seen it work in my life (big time) , so I admire a guy like Willie Calhoun who is undersized and physically challenged in almost every aspect of the game of baseball… except hitting! When it comes to hitting, Willie Calhoun is a pure thoroughbred, but when it comes to running, defense and speed, he is a Shetland pony.  He showed up weeks early to Spring Training where is continues to work on his conditioning, fielding, running and defensive positioning.

By all counts, he is hard worker and has an indomitable spirit.  I admire that.  I like that a lot.  It will take him a long way in life. The only thing is, you have to have some physical talent in certain areas to accomplish great things.  A person may like to run, but if they don’t have the requisite foot speed, they are not going to beat Usain Bolt in the 100 meters… no matter how good their attitude is.

I am sure that I would have been the Greatest NBA Center of all time.  All I lacked was an additional 8 to 10 inches in height.  I wanted to… I was determined… I was relentless…I was a beast in high school (17.1 ppg/17.7 rpg), but at 6′ 4″ and a natural “back-to-the-basket” center, I simply could not make it to the next level… no matter how much I wanted it or how good my attitude was.  I lacked the requisite height.

Willie Calhoun lacks the requisite foot speed, agility, athleticism  and defensive ability to play 2B and Andrew Friedman knows it.  The Dodgers know it.  Even Ray Charles can see it.  They are just trying to drive up the price.  Willie Calhoun needs to be a DH, but the Dodgers are trying to convince ONE TEAM that Willie Calhoun can play 2B.  That’s all it takes – ONE TEAM!

One Team!  One GM who believes Willie can play 2B and is willing to trade for him in the right package. I can’t confirm it, but I was told the Dodgers would have traded De Leon and Calhoun for Dozier, but the Twins insisted on Alvarez as well.  I do not think Willie will play 2B for the Dodgers – he is way slow with his “tree trunk legs” and he’s not quick, nor does he have a “soft glove.”  Now, I will be the first to admit that WANT TO goes a long way and it’s hard to beat someone who never gives up.  It would be a miracle if he makes it as a second baseman… but miracles do happen!  Maybe, he can learn to play LF – he would be a slow one, but if his bat plays like I think it will, maybe he can find a home there.

However since he is LH, I think it is more likely that he gets traded. If you look at the Dodgers lineup, you will see that they are very heavy with LH hitters going forward.  Since A-Gon is Gone after 2018, I am not including him, but Seager is LH, so are Cody Bellinger, Joc Pederson, Gavin Lux, Mitch Hansen, Cody Thomas, Andrew Toles, Oneil Cruz and Alex Verdugo.  Pederson does not hit lefties well and Seager has work to do in that area as well.  I am watching Verdugo very closely this year – he needs to take another step-up. If he can take another step forward and if he can start hitting lefties better, he can be  a Tony-Gwynn-Like Player.

I like just about everything about Willie Calhoun, especially his attitude, but the fact that he is defensively challenged and hits LH works against him considering the Dodgers plethora of left-handed hitters.  I can see him and a couple of other prospects packaged for a power-hitter who is Right-handed.  That’s my opinion – what’s yours?

Rants & Raves

  • I like Brock Stewart a lot.  I think he will be an excellent #4 or #5, but I think 2018 will be his year. He needs a full year at AAA. Maybe I am wrong, but I am scratching him from the rotation THIS year.  Now, this could all change with a trade or two…
  • Kike Hernandez was 2-3 with a BB.  Two games in a row he has shown up.  He is also saying he has a more mature attitude.  You know what?  I believe him and if it boils down to Taylor ad Kike, it will be Kike, because he has POWER!  Taylor doesn’t.  It’s early, but Kike is back on track.
  • I am not convinced that Joc Pederson will hit LH pitching.  I mean, last year he was at .125.  I can probably do that.  If Trayce Thompson is healthy, I see a platoon in CF.
  • That means that LF will be somewhat of a platoon between SVS and either Toles or Ethier.  They can send Toles down, but they would have to trade Ethier.  Either on is possible.  Of course, Toles is not playing with purpose right now.
  • How about trading Alex Wood and Pedro Baez for Brad Brach?  Baez partially replaces Brach and Wood gives them another starter that they desperately need. Or they can have McCarthy or Ryu or Kazmir instead.

Today’s Music

Posted by Mark Timmons

I started LA Dodger Talk in 2001. I took a year off in 2016 and now I am back. This site is about giving another perspective outside of the average day-to-day reporting. I don't do game recaps or in-depth sabermetric analysis. I value sabermetrics, but leave that to people smarter than me... which is only 98% of the population. This is where you start your day as a Dodger Fan. Welcome!

This article has 38 Comments

  1. The Dodgers can have Forsythe at second through 2018 if they use their option for 2018. They would have to sign him as a free agent to keep him longer and most likely would have to commit to at least a two year contract, probably three.
    .
    It is possible the Dodgers will not trade Calhoun until they have someone in the organization they feel can play second full time.
    .
    Hitters face lefties somewhere around 40% of the time so if a full time player got 600 plate appearances, 240 of them would be against lefties and 360 against righties. Given Gonzales age, neck problems, and now elbow pain, should he get more than 360 plate appearances? If not, then SVS will probably get 240 PAs at first base which means that he wouldn’t be available to platoon in two positions at once which means he wouldn’t platoon in LF.
    .
    Grandal
    Barnes
    .
    Gonzales
    SVS
    Forsythe
    Taylor
    Turner
    Utley
    .
    Ethier
    Pederson
    Puig
    Thompson
    Guetierrez
    .
    Kershaw
    Maeda
    Hill
    McCarthy
    Rhu/Kazmir/Wood (whoever is healthy)
    .
    Jansen
    Romo
    Dayton
    Diaz
    Stripling
    Spitzbarth

    Spitzbarth? hmmm
    .
    Apparently he assumed he would get drafted out of high school so didn’t bother to have a backup plan that would get him a scholarship in a Division I school. Did he flunk shop? A few short quotes from him seem to reflect a person that has a philosophy on life. I think I am going to like this guy.

  2. Look – we have all known people with all of the talent in the world who squandered it and made nothing of their lives and we have know others who were grinders and made it on effort alone. The problem is that sometimes, effort is not enough. No matter what, I was never going to be able to pitch for the Dodgers. The basics still have to be there. I haven’t seen Calhoun but from what I have read, he doesn’t have it. If he does, then great!

    Thompson isn’t going to be on the opening day 25. 5 bench players is all they are allowed and if they start Ethier, Pederson and Puig in the OF, the 5 on the bench will be Barnes, Utley, Gutierrez, a utility INF (probably Hernandez) and Van Slyke (the only RH guy who plays 1B – and don’t say the Dodgers will player Turner at 1B – they won’t). Thompson and Toles have options left and they will be exercised.

  3. It appears that the suits don’t have the commitment to Calhoun that would give him or his fans a lot of confidence going forward. Trading for a starting 2B, now trading for another middle infielder, not playing yet in ST can’t bode well. For his own career, he should be traded. With another team where 2B is sparse, he will get a chance to play. That is what he should be thinking right now. I hope he is successful.

  4. Mark

    All I can say, if Calhoun had no chance of being a major leaguer, then why did Friedman not only draft him once, but twice?

    1. MJ,
      .
      You have been around someone else who likes to mis-quote me so long that it is rubbing off. 😉

      I never said he could not be a major leaguer.

      I said he can’t be a MLB 2B!

      Maybe a LF’er.

      Certainly a DH.

      Friedman drafted him because he has value since he can hit, but I doubt FAZ really believes he can play 2B.

      1. Mark

        Anything I say, or misquote, is only, by accident.

        And probably because, I must have not read something, carefully.

        And I have no problem,
        acknowledging that.

        But since you brought this up, why is this about, Calhoun again?

        You got me there, about Calhoun being major leaguer, at another position, or at DH.

        And I thought you might say that, after I wrote this.

        But I just wanted to be try to be concise, and just ask, a short question.

        I guess I didn’t take the time, to read your statements, carefully, because I have read much these same words before, about Calhoun, from you.

        And personally, I just want Calhoun, to get a chance.

        I don’t care if he plays second, or left field.

        And much what scouts have said about Calhoun, was said about Schwarber, so you just, never know.

        And the Cubs still signed Schwarber,
        and gave him a chance, because they thought, he is quite, a hitter.

        And Schwarber is older then Calhoun, and much farther along, then Calhoun.

        And some scouts have said, that Schwarber’s and Calhoun’s bats, came play, anywhere.

        And both Epstein, and Friedman, must know, that it is a lot easier to teach, or find a good defensive player, then find someone, who can really hit.

        Because both Friedman and Epstein, are in charge, of a National League team, that doesn’t offer the DH, but they both choose, to draft these, two players.

        And like I said above, Friedman, drafted Calhoun twice.

        I just think it is not good, to make assertions, on someone’s size, especially, in baseball.

        Because baseball, is the one sport, that has shown, that size is not, always, the issue.

        1. Schwarber was considered an adequate catcher with work to do. However, the Cubs have Contereras and others that made his conversion appealing because his bat is phenomenal. Much higher rated than Calhoun offensively.

          So far turning him into an OF has gotten him injured once. Like Calhoun he could be on the DH train.

          1. Hawkeye

            You know I love you, but Schwarber wasn’t considered, adequate, as a catcher.

            And the Cubs won’t even play him, at catcher, because of that.

            And I do know they have two other catchers, on the major league team.

            I read a scouting report on Schwarber, in 2014, and his scouting reports on defense, and speed, were not good.

            I wish I knew how to get that report here, but I don’t know how to do that.

            Really I don’t know why Mark brought this up again.

            It is what it is.

          2. His scouting report wasn’t anywhere that of Calhoun’s defensively. There were skills there at catcher. Maybe I should say Adequate to below average. I hope Calhoun succeeds but I’ve never seen such bad scouting reports on a guy. I’m going to Camelback so I’ll get a peak hopefully at his defense.

            Anyways, the Cubs had Contreras, Montero, and Ross. Once they’re done with Montero and Schwarber is fully recuperated it will be interesting to see if Schwarber gets time back at catcher sporadically.

            I recently listened to an interview with either a scout or a Cubs broadcaster and their contention was the depth at catcher and the talents of Contreras moved Schwarber much more than his lack of ability at the position. Of course, they want his bat in the lineup everyday too.

          3. Hawkeye

            I know that is probably the case offensively, but Calhoun is younger, and didn’t play at a major university.

            But he was actually given a scholarship, to play for Arizona St, which you know, is a very good baseball, school.

        2. Just because Schwarber and Calhoun can bat at much higher proficiency than they field does NOT mean:

          1. They are equal hitters
          2. They are equal fielders

          The Dodgers drafted Calhoun because they knew he was good with a bat. I’m sure they hoped he could turn into an adequate 2B.

          The Dodgers signed Kazmir and McCarthy because they knew they could pitch. I’m sure they hoped they could turn into healthy and reliable SPs.

          1. Bluto

            There is no way to measure that.

            Because one is younger, and didn’t play four years of college ball, and one only has two years, of pro ball experience.

        3. MJ,

          I have never said his size was the issue.

          It’s not!

          His glove and slowfootedness are the problems.

          One of my favorite players is Jose Altuve…. he’s shorter than Willie.

          Schwarber can be a decent catcher with work. I don;t think Calhoun can be a decent 2B and I don;t think Schwarber can be a good LF.

          1. Mark

            You described, how he was built, and you used a simile, to describehis legs.

            I just read something about Schwarber wishing he could be a catcher.

            Apparently, he doesn’t have the tools, to play catcher, at the major league level.

            The Cubs would have tried to trade Montero in the off season, if Schwarber was good, enough.

            I have read his scouting, reports.

            But I wouldn’t want to say anyone can’t do something, because I wouldn’t want, to bet against the human spirit.

            You crack me up, on how you describe Calhoun’s legs.

            Because you are so tall, you can’t relate, I guess.

            I just don’t understand why you brought this up, again.

  5. If Kike’ makes the team, Roberts will look for ways to get him into games. That means he will play more CF than I want him to play. I’d rather have Taylor and use his speed as a pinch runner to add opportunities to get him into games plus sub in at short and third.

    1. Bum

      I wouldn’t worry about Kike, because he really isn’t hitting all that, and he will be leaving to play, for the Puerta Rican team, really soon.

      And remember, Trayce, plays center too.

      And Roberts, played Trayce more in center, then Kike, before Trayce got hurt, last year.

  6. Hey Mark, do you think they are showcasing Ethier right now to bundle him up with a couple of surplus starters for a trade down the line? Or are they waiting to see what Toles and Thompson are gonna do this spring. Both of these guys seem like the future in the outfield, and both have speed and a good stick. Do they take a chance and put them on the opening day roster and trade ‘Dre and some pitchers for a Baltimore reliever, or do they stand pat? Alot of story lines right now, and way too many good guys on the roster with not enough room. Seems like something is going to have to give. Will it be during spring training or the season?

    1. Repeat after me:

      They cannot trade Ethier without his permission.
      Ethier has little to no value.

    1. Bum

      That is probably why Joc isn’t rooming with Corey and Trayce, this year.

      He is still so young though.

  7. I watched Calhoun play today on MLB.TV – he singled through the right side and had a 4-3 putout that looked a little unsmooth wrt footwork. I’m rooting for him, but he’s got some work to do if he wants to make it to the big leagues.
    .
    Here’s an interesting article from ThinkBlueLA on Istler and Spitzbarth – http://www.thinkbluela.com/2017/03/istler-and-spitzbarth-two-young-dodgers-to-keep-an-eye-on/
    .
    Got to watch Istler today and he looked sharp. He pitched the 9th and struck out two batters looking then got the last out on a grounder to short. He’s got some arm side run on his fastball – I can’t tell if it’s because he is throwing a two-seamer over the top or not but it had enough good movement to fool the first two hitters -both of whom had two strikes at the time he threw that same pitch.

    1. Knight

      What inning did Calhoun play in?

      I didn’t get to see that, so I might try to see that on the replay, if you remember, the inning.

      And thanks!

      1. MJ – I think it was the 2nd out of the 7th inning. The pitcher was Sborz and it was either his first or second inning of work.

  8. Damn Mark, I agreed with almost everything you had to say today. Much better than that rant the other day. Although I might need some verification of those high school stats.

    1. Hawk,

      That’s the way it should be. Don’t disagree with me every day and don’t agree with me every day. It gets pretty boring when I know what is coming.

      Rants come at random and not everyone knows what they are about. 😉

      1. LOL. Not pleading Uncle. Just prefer these types of posts. Some will disagree with all things FAZ without giving much thought to the moves. It comes with the territory. Got to let it go.

        1. Hawkeye

          I was just teasing!

          I tried to post a smilely face after I wrote that, but it didn’t show up.

          And I don’t try to do that, and I think after they brought Turner and Kenley back, it might get better.

        2. No guarantees I won’t go on a rant… occasionally!

          If I did not do that from time-to-time people might think I was sane.

          1. I’d make it one big one about once a month. It takes a certain level of courage to have a blog and also being thick skinned. It’s funny, I can read posts without seeing the names and often know who it came from before I scroll back and check. Those that I chalk up as idiots, I ignore all together.

  9. OK, that was my March Rant.

    I can hardly wait until April!

    What do you think about the Colts right about now?

Comments are closed.