Focused Calhoun hopes to stick with Halos
TEMPE, Ariz. -- As a result of the valuable experience he gained a year ago, the theme of Kole Calhoun's offseason was focus.
"I kind of got a taste last year of what it's really going to take to get up here [in the Majors] and stay up here," Calhoun said. "I didn't change much this offseason, but was really focused on bettering myself to be able to play up here and stay. I did a lot of things with my swing, worked at all spots in the outfield and a little bit more at first base."
The Angels selected Calhoun in the eighth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, and he is currently ranked by MLB.com as the No. 5 prospect in the organization. Calhoun made his Major League debut on May 22, 2012, and he had 23 at-bats during his stint with the Angels. He hit .174 in the big leagues, but spent the majority of the year with Triple-A Salt Lake, where he hit .298 with 73 RBIs.
The left-handed hitter's stint in the Majors was brief, but the experience -- which Calhoun described as "unbelievable" -- is what fueled his offseason.
"You get a taste of it, you get to touch your dream a little bit and you want to get back," Calhoun said. "It gives you the driving force to keep working and getting better."
Scott Cousins, Trent Oeltjen, J.B. Shuck and Matt Young are among those competing with Calhoun for the final roster spot, but the 25-year-old Arizona native is not spending any time worrying about other players.
"I'm working on getting better," Calhoun said. "You know what spots are open and there are some things that can happen, but if I'm focused on that my head's not where it should be. I'm getting ready to play, no matter where it's at."
Whether Calhoun begins the 2013 season in Anaheim or Salt Lake is yet to be seen, but either way, he is using the Spring Training experience to learn as much as he can while sharing a clubhouse with established players.
"There are guys that have been MVP, [made] numerous All-Star [games and] been World Series champions," Calhoun said. "They've played at the highest level for many, many years. If you can pick and take something for each of those guys and have half as good of a career as those guys, that's a pretty good life."