Former Eau Claire Express Player Kole Calhoun Excelling with the Angels
By Andrew Cely – WQOW.com
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Kole Calhoun of the Los Angeles Angels, says his days with the Express prepared him well for the Majors
The Eau Claire Express has three former players currently in the Major Leagues, including outfielder Kole Calhoun of the Angels, who played for the Express from 2007 to 2009.
It's interesting that Calhoun and Mike Trout play adjoining positions in the Angels outfield – interesting, because Trout coming up through the ranks was the can't-miss prospect, while Calhoun was an undrafted free agent.
"Well, I think Kole has been a player his whole life that had to go out there and prove himself," Angels Manager Mike Scioscia says, "You know, he did it in College, did it in the Minor Leagues, and now he's doing it in the Major Leagues. He plays big and you see a guy that's 5-9, he plays like he's 6-foot-4, he knows how to play. Great outfielder, obviously, with winning a Gold Glove last year, knows what he's doing in the batter's box, so he's evolved into being one of the toughest outs in our league."
"You know, when I first got up here, it was like I was in awe of everything, all the stadiums, the fans, the game itself," Calhoun describes, "It was just, it was the show, you're in the show. Now, a few years later and really settling in, and going out and trying to compete and trying to win, it's the same game we've played, just kinda on a different stage."
Kole is in his fifth year with the Angels, which means he's played longer in the Majors than he did when he was with the Express of the Northwoods League, but he counts his Eau Claire experience as very important for getting him ready for the next stages.
"Northwoods League definitely got us ready to play minor league baseball, I mean, that's kind of the grind that it is," said Calhoun, "It's not a lot of off days, lot of bus trips and traveling city to city, and you know, staying in hotels, and trying to figure out how you're going to eat and keep your body in shape. You know, it's a grind, so I definitely think my three years in Eau Claire definitely helped, for sure."
Kole Calhoun is off to a good start in this 2016 season, and is trending for some career-best numbers, although he continues to remind everybody, it's still very early in the season.