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SF Giants outright former Rangers  slugger Willie Calhoun to Triple-A

The SF Giants were able to keep another former top-100 prospect in their organization after Willie Calhoun cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A.

The SF Giants have kept another former top-100 prospect in their organization. Corner bat Willie Calhoun was outrighted to Triple-A Sacramento, according to the transactions tab on his MLB.com profile. Calhoun was designated for assignment over the weekend to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Jharel Cotton.

The Giants acquired Calhoun from the Texas Rangers in a trade for outfielder Steven Duggar earlier this year. The Giants briefly promoted Calhoun to their big-league roster last week, but he was optioned back to the minors after recording just one hit in nine plate appearances. In 41 games at Triple-A, Calhoun hit .299/.386/.465 with five homers.

Calhoun is limited defensively. He has played first base, second base, left field, and right field, but is not considered an average defender at any of those spots. He has a fringe arm and below-average range, which has always put pressure on Calhoun's bat to carry him.

The Dodgers drafted Calhoun out of Yavapai Junior College in the fourth round of the 2015 draft, during both Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and manager Gabe Kapler's tenure in Los Angeles. Calhoun burst onto the scene of professional baseball and established himself as a consensus top-100 prospect in the minor leagues by 2017.

Rangers DH Willie Calhoun takes a swing.

One of the best prospects in the minors, Calhoun was used as the centerpiece of the Dodgers' trade package to acquire Yu Darvish from the Rangers at the 2017 deadline. By the end of the year, Calhoun was playing every day in Arlington.

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In 2019, Calhoun seemed to be one of the best developing young hitters in MLB. While injuries limited him to just 83 games that year, but he still blasted 21 homers with a .269/.323/.524 triple-slash in his age-24 season.

However, Calhoun was never able to take the next step in his career. Calhoun posted a .490 OPS in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. While Calhoun's line returned closer to league average in 2021 (.250/.310/.381) his previous power was absent.

The Rangers worked with Calhoun to try and generate more power with his swing. Unlike other players who were able to take their performance to another level with similar changes, though, Calhoun never felt comfortable.

Calhoun felt the Rangers coaching staff's changes were not best geared for his strengths. After an ugly start to the 2022 season, hitting .136/.283/.273 in 18 games, Calhoun was demoted and requested a trade.

Despite his struggles, Calhoun has always had an excellent understanding of the strike zone. He has an excellent 15.3% strikeout rate and has seen his walk rate take a big step forward this season.

The SF Giants will try to help Willie Calhoun rekindle his early-career offensive success at Triple-A. If he can ever return to his 2019 form, he could easily find himself returning to San Francisco.