Rangers' Calhoun says starting season in Triple-A was 'a slap in the face'

Highly touted Texas Rangers prospect Willie Calhoun wasn't too impressed to learn he'd start the 2018 season in Triple-A rather than play in the show, and he made sure to express how he felt in a recent interview.

"I was really mad, just because I felt like I had nothing else to prove here at Triple-A," Calhoun told Gerard Gilberto of MiLB.com. "When you hear that you're going back to a league after you had such a good year like that ... I just kind of felt like it was a slap in the face."

Calhoun was one of three players acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers at the 2017 trade deadline in exchange for Yu Darvish and is ranked as the Rangers' No. 2 prospect and 53rd in all of baseball by MLB Pipeline.

The 23-year-old outfielder admitted he took the Rangers' decision to start him in the minors (despite posting a .927 OPS with 31 home runs in Triple-A and reaching the big leagues in September last season) to heart, and it threw off his mental game to begin the year.

"If I believe in myself, that's all that really matters," he said "Just because the first week I was kind of mentally not all there I was just really upset with how things had been going. ... But two nights ago, I feel like I really started to settle back in and forget about it and not really worry ... and just kind of play my own game."

Through 11 games with Round Rock, Calhoun is hitting .267/.313/.400 with one home run, three doubles, and four RBIs.

The banged-up Rangers, who are without Elvis Andrus, Rougned Odor, Delino Deshields Jr., and a number of pitchers, are currently featuring a starting outfield of Nomar Mazara, Joey Gallo, and Drew Robinson.

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