Kole Calhoun knows Angels prospect Jo Adell could be coming for his job
Kole Calhoun knows Jo Adell is coming, but the Angels right fielder doesn’t necessarily hear Adell’s footsteps, even if the cleats of the organization’s top prospect are leaving a rather large imprint on the club.
Adell, the 20-year-old outfielder who is rated the No. 2 prospect in the game by Baseball America and No. 4 by MLB Pipeline, was promoted to triple-A Salt Lake on Thursday after hitting .308 with a .944 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, eight home runs, 15 doubles and 23 runs batted in over 43 games for double-A Mobile.
The athletic, speedy and powerful Adell could be called up to the big leagues when rosters expand in September, and there is already speculation he might be ready to replace Calhoun in right field in 2020, giving the Angels an inexpensive alternative to exercising Calhoun’s $14-million option for next season.
“I don’t know, it is what it is, man,” Calhoun said before Saturday night’s game against the Cleveland Indians. “He’s definitely a guy who has some skill and who should be a really good big league player. Good for him. It should be fun to see.”
Calhoun, 31, is having his usual streaky year at the plate, with a .235 average and a team-leading 103 strikeouts, but he also ranks second behind Mike Trout with 24 home runs — two shy of his career high of 26 in 2015 — and third on the team with 58 RBIs and a .799 OPS.
Calhoun’s power and above-average defense, along with the fact he is one of only two left-handed sluggers — Shohei Ohtani is the other — in a predominantly right-handed lineup, will play into the team’s decision on his 2020 option.
One game into his return from an injury caused by a home-plate collision, catcher Jonathan Lucroy absorbed another blow when the Angels cut ties with him.
Adell, a 2017 first-round pick who can play all three outfield spots, might be a better fit in left field, which is manned by right-handed-hitting Justin Upton, who has three years and $72 million left on his contract after this season.
“I’m not worried about that,” Calhoun said of his 2020 option. “I’m worried about playing now, and what happens will happen. [Adell] is definitely a great player. He’s a young guy, and we’ll see how he continues to develop, but the talent is there. He’s going to be a big league player for a long time.
“I didn’t get to spend too much time with him in spring training, but from what I gather, he’s a good kid, willing to learn, willing to work. He carries himself well. He’s definitely a humble guy. There’s a reason why he’s climbing as fast as he is. They wouldn’t do it if they didn’t think he could handle it.”
Left-hander Andrew Heaney, sidelined since July 17 because of shoulder inflammation, will throw a four-inning, 60-pitch simulated game in Cincinnati on Monday and could be activated next weekend in Boston, a rehabilitation plan that Heaney prefers over making a minor league start.
“I don’t necessarily believe in the whole game-speed thing,” Heaney said. “If you do a sim game it’s in a big league stadium against big league hitters in front of nobody. If you do a minor league game, it’s to minor league hitters in a minor league stadium in front of nobody. So it’s not that much of a difference.”
Heaney, who sat out most of the first two months because of elbow discomfort and is 1-3 with a 5.09 earned-run average in nine starts, hopes to close the season on a high note.
“It’s been a [bad] season, a nightmare season for me and for some other guys in general,” Heaney said. “When we came to spring training, this is not what we envisioned. But from a team standpoint, we’re still right there. Obviously, we have not played well at all the last week. I think everyone wants to finish strong.”
Shortstop Andrelton Simmons was scratched from Saturday’s lineup because of left foot soreness. ... Reliever Noe Ramirez is recovering from a viral infection but will have to serve a three-game suspension — the right-hander has dropped his appeal — for throwing at Houston’s Jake Marisnick once he is activated. … Reserve catcher Dustin Garneau, designate for assignment by the Angels last week, was claimed off waivers by the Oakland Athletics.
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