Sep 20, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun (56) celebrates after scoring the winning run in the 11th inning against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium. The Angels defeated the Mariners 3-2 in 11 innings. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Baseball: Angels' leadoff man Kole Calhoun is a fantasy sleeper in 2014

kole calhoun

Kole Calhoun is a fantasy sleeper for the Angels in 2014 (Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia decided to retool his batting order this off-season and the changes could be beneficial to fantasy baseball owners looking for a mid- to later-round “sleeper”.

By moving Mike Trout down to second in the order, Scioscia has put new leadoff hitter Kole Calhoun in a spot to provide lots of run production for the Angels and his fantasy owners.

» Kole Calhoun, RF, Los Angeles Angels (current ADP: #194):

Kole Calhoun had a cup of coffee with the Angels in 2012, but he really put his name on the fantasy baseball map in 2013.

Calhoun, now 26, was called up last year to help the Angels with some depth issues.  Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols were hurt, forcing Mark Trumbo to first base and leaving room in the outfield.

The rookie was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake City on July 28 and immediately made an impact, showing flashes of power and the ability to get on base.

During August he slashed .259/.343/.482.  His incredible SLG% was boosted by the five home runs he hit that month, which led all American League rookies.

In just a few weeks, you could see he was already making adjustments at the plate, batting .307 over 101 at bats in the following month of September.

Sure, he had a high BABIP (.346), but his K-rate also dropped from the previous month, going from 19.2% to 17.9%.

He ended up finishing his rookie campaign with 8 HR, 32 RBI, and 29 runs scored in 195 AB.

As the projected leadoff hitter in Anaheim this season, Kole Calhoun has an opportunity to head a lineup featuring Pujols, Hamilton and arguably the best player in baseball, Mike Trout.

Hitting in front of those guys will allow him to see a lot of pitches, and if he can replicate any form of his 2013 numbers, he could be in for a big season.

Having swiped just 45 bags in his minor-league career, fantasy owners shouldn’t be expecting too much in the stolen base category, although he did steal 20 with High-A Inland Empire in 2011.  That’s not what you’re drafting Calhoun for, though.  Getting him for his $4 auction price will allow you to spend more in other places and still give you his high upside in runs, home runs and batting average.

2014 Projections: .281/.349/.428, 17 HR, 70 RBI, 75 R, 12 SB

» Missed any of my earlier picks?  Please click here for links to all the sleepers I’ve covered from each team so far.

Tags: Fantasy Baseball Fantasy Baseball Sleepers Kole Calhoun Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout

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