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Friday, December 26, 2014

2014 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT SLEEPER: KOLE CALHOUN OUTFIELDER LOS ANGELES ANGELS

When you play on the West Coast and you are a leadoff hitter who doesn't steal bases, it can be tough to garner attention in the fantasy baseball sphere.  Such is the existence of Los Angeles Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun who quietly had a very solid breakout campaign in 2014 as he took part in his first full major league season batting leadoff for the playoff-bound Angels.  Altogether Calhoun  put the following numbers in only 493 at-bats as he missed a portion of the season with injury which means he would have done even better if he got the requisite 550-plus at-bats that leadoff men receive.

.272
17 HR
58 RBI
90 R
5 SB

Looking at those numbers, Calhoun looks more like a number 2 or 6 hitter than a leadoff guy.  However with the Angels determined to move Mike Trout down in the order, Calhoun was their next best bet to bat leadoff.  Obviously Calhoun is not your classic leadoff guy as his OBP was a shoddy .325 last season and he doesn't have the speed to put pressure on pitchers when he does get on base.  You can see this in the fact Calhoun had only the 5 steals last season in 8 tries.  Clearly that is not part of Calhoun's game.  However swatting 17 home runs and collecting 90 runs out of the leadoff slot were very good stats indeed and considering he missed time with injury, Calhoun likely would have hit 20 or more bombs if he stayed completely healthy.  Home runs and runs are the strengths here and Calhoun is capable of improving on his .272 average if he can cut down on some of his whiffs. 

Perhaps the best past about Calhoun going into the season is the fact his draft price remains very affordable despite the mini-breakout a year ago.  This is a kid who is only going to be 27 in 2015 which is the start of a hitter's prime and more improvement is likely as he gains more experience against major league arms.  He is already a firmly established outfielder 3 who can come at the price of a bench bat.  Considering the growth that is on the way, Calhoun shapes up as a very nice investment indeed.

2015 PROJECTION:  .281 19 HR 65 RBI 92 R 6 SB

 
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