Calhoun powers Express with eight RBIs

Rangers No. 2 prospect caps two-homer night with walk-off slam

Willie Calhoun's career-high eight RBIs were the most by a player in the Pacific Coast League this season. (Jamie Harms/MiLB.com)

By Michael Avallone / MiLB.com | September 3, 2017 11:34 PM

Although Willie Calhoun is not expected to get the call to the Majors this month, the 22-year-old is making sure the Rangers get a clear view of what they might be missing out on.

Coincidentally, so is his former team.

Calhoun hit a walk-off grand slam to cap a two-homer, eight-RBI performance and give Triple-A Round Rock a 10-9 victory over Oklahoma City on Sunday night at Dell Diamond. 

Video: Calhoun wins it for the Express

It was the second multi-homer game of the year for the Rangers' No. 2 prospect, who went deep twice against Albuquerque on Aug. 6. This one had a little more meaning for Calhoun, who was drafted by the Dodgers in 2015 and spent the first four months of this season with Oklahoma City. He was a key piece in the four-player trade that sent Yu Darvish from Texas to Los Angeles on July 31.

Calhoun batted .298/.357/.574 with 23 homers and 67 RBIs in 99 games for Oklahoma City and is hitting .342 with two homers and 12 RBIs in seven games against his former teammates.


Gameday box score


"It was a really cool feeling to hit it against them," Calhoun said. "I was with those guys for most of the year and to hit a walk-off against them was an unreal feeling. In the end, it's all fun and games. Everyone in that clubhouse is my friend and they're a great bunch of dudes.

"But I was still really proud to be able to do that against them. I guess I have a little extra chip on my shoulder. You always want to prove that you're a great player and to show them what they're missing."

Calhoun went down swinging and grounded out in his first two at-bats. But he reached the 30-homer mark for the first time with a two-run shot to right field in the fifth and singled in two more runs in the seventh. With Round Rock trailing by three in the ninth, Kevin Torres and Jose Cardona singled and Jurickson Profar walked. MLB.com's No. 67 overall prospect followed with a first-pitch slam to left-center off reliever Yasiel Sierra (0-1).

Video: The Express' Calhoun hits his 30th homer

"In that situation and at that point of the game, I was looking to elevate the ball and drive in a few," the California native said. "I wanted to just get the next man up and keep it moving, but I put a good swing on it. I pretty much knew the ball was out because I hit it really well. I watched the way [center fielder Trayce Thompson] went back on it, too, which pretty much let me know it was out."

The eight RBIs topped Calhoun's previous best of five, which he had done three times, most recently on June 8 with the Dodgers. His 31 homers are tied for fourth in the Pacific Coast League with Cardinals No. 4 prospect Tyler O'Neill of Memphis. Calhoun hit 27 long balls last year with Double-A Tulsa and has 69 since debuting in 2015.

MiLB include

Although Calhoun more than likely will have to wait until 2018 to make his Major League debut, he understands there is little he can do about it except continue to produce in the Minors.

"It's frustrating to think of how good of a year I'm having and not get rewarded with a callup," he said. "But it's a business and it's something I have to get over. Yes, it's a tough pill to swallow, but it's also out of my control. I did everything I could to put myself in the right position, but everything happens for a reason."


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Brett Hayes hit a solo homer, while Cardona singled twice, walked and scored three runs for the Express.

Dodgers No. 16 prospect Edwin Rios and Max Muncy both went deep and drove in three runs for Oklahoma City, who got a solo shot from Joc Pederson.

Michael Avallone is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MavalloneMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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