In five games since being traded, slugger Willie Calhoun has made a bold first impression on his new team by using his strongest tool -- the ability to hit the long ball.
Texas' second-ranked prospect bashed a two-run homer and a solo shot as the Express secured a 5-4 victory over the Isotopes at Dell Diamond. It marked the first two-homer game for Calhoun at the Triple-A level, a feat which he last pulled off on Aug. 14, 2016 with Double-A Tulsa in the Texas League.
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Calhoun, along with Class A right-hander A.J. Alexy and shortstop Brendon Davis, was part of the deal that sent All-Star hurler Yu Darvish to the Dodgers last week at the Trade Deadline. Alexy is slotted as the Rangers' No. 19 prospect and Davis ranks 29th.
"I like the atmosphere that's in the clubhouse and all the guys are great," MLB.com's No. 68 overall prospect said. "They just told me to have fun and keep on doing what I'm doing. Don't change a thing."
In 20 at-bats with his new team, Calhoun has five hits, four of which have left the yard.
"Honestly, I didn't even know that," the 22-year-old said. "That's pretty sick. I don't even know what to say. I never thought about it like that."
Video: Calhoun homers for the third time in five games
Calhoun clubbed 23 homers with Oklahoma City before the trade and now stands third in the Pacific Coast League with 27, which matches the career high he set last year.
"For the most part, I'm doing everything the same. Just keeping it simple and trying to have fun as much as I can because I love having fun out there and playing this game," he said. "I'm just going up there just with the same approach and just not trying to think too much and just reacting to the pitches."
In his first at-bat in the opening inning against Albuquerque starter Zach Jemiola, Calhoun popped out to third base, then bounced out to first in the fourth. Following Jared Hoying's one-out double in the sixth against the right-hander, the California native connected on a 2-0 heater and lifted it over the fence in right-center field.
"This team was just beating me with fastballs all series," Calhoun recalled. "So I figured I'd chew a little bit on fastballs on 2-0."
Video: The Express' Calhoun's second homer of the game
Round Rock scored twice in the seventh to take a one-run lead and Albuquerque countered in the eighth with a sacrifice fly by Cristhian Adames to even the score. Leading off the home half of the inning against righy James Farris, Calhoun caught hold of a 1-0 changeup and pulled it out to right.
"I was just thinking changeup the whole way," the fourth-round pick in the 2015 Draft said. "I was able to recognize it and see it well and hit it out it front."
It was the second of the four homers Calhoun has hit for Round Rock that have given the team a lead.
"Obviously the second one felt a little better because it was late in the game and ... our team got the win," Calhoun said. "All the guys are obviously super pumped about it because it's something special in games. Everyone's super supportive and super happy in the clubhouse. I can't ask for much more."
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Rangers' third-ranked prospect Ronald Guzman singled three times in four at-bats and Pete Kozma finished 3-for-3 with two doubles and a run scored for the Express.
Rosell Herrera homered and doubled for Albuquerque and Colorado's No. 3 prospect Ryan McMahon contributed an RBI double, walked twice and scored a run.