MLBbro Willie Calhoun has worked hard to become part of the future of the Texas Rangers franchise.
The one thing that has slowed his progress is the laundry list of injuries that he has suffered throughout his short career.
2020 was the season when the injuries hit him the hardest. Despite a season that started late due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Willie missed time due to a hip flexor and a hamstring injury. But it was this facial injury on March 8th that Calhoun and Rangers fans remember the most.
A Julio Urias fastball near the end of spring training broke Willie’s jaw that required surgery. He never got in sync hitting only .190 with one home run and 13 RBI in 29 games.
After another slow start to last season with a groin strain, Calhoun’s consistent play made him a staple at the lead off slot for Texas. The hottest streak in his career was halted by another pitch that broke his forearm that required surgery.
successful surgery, can’t wait to get back out there already ❤️🐻 pic.twitter.com/1iHGqQdt0X
— June Calhoun (@11WillieCalhoun) June 29, 2021
But a batting helmet change called a C-flap has helped Willie Calhoun get ready for this season in two ways. One, it will allow him to get back to crowding the plate to use the entire field to put the ball into play. Two and most importantly, it will allow him to be more confident at the plate, something according to MLB.com, he was starting to get away from.
“I kind of got off the plate the last two years, and I’m not wearing the C-flap anymore, so I feel like that was a big thing for me,” Calhoun said. “I just told myself that I was going to be able to go back to staying on top of the plate and go back to that approach and I’ve been hitting with my whole life. The last few years, I’ve been so off the plate and stuff because…I wouldn’t say I was timid or scared, but I mean, in a way, I was. Especially after I got hit in the arm. But this year, I’m going right back to [hitting] on top of the plate — how I used to do it.”
Calhoun and the Rangers hope this adjustment will help him more at the plate against left-handed pitching where he struggled early in his career.
This MLBbro was a centerpiece in the Yu Darvish trade back in 2017; so, his talent is undeniable to the organization. Both parties are looking for improvement on his six homer, 25 RBI performance from last season.