Calhoun more than a tone-setter for Halos

Role continues to grow for intense young outfielder, potential leadoff man

Calhoun more than a tone-setter for Halos

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Part of Kole Calhoun's role is to set the table for the Angels' offense, but line drives in the gaps aren't the only way he jump-starts the team.

Calhoun's enthusiasm is constantly on display and that infectious energy is part of what makes him such a valuable piece atop the Angels' lineup.

"I think part of what makes Kole a good player is his intensity," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "You need that focus, that intensity to know this is real and it's how you compete. With Kole, it's in him and it bubbles out. He pumps his teammates up and he does a great job setting the tone for us."

On-field skills can be taught, learned and developed over time, but passion and enthusiasm are different and in Calhoun's case they're traits he's had for as long as he can remember.

"It's how I was raised," Calhoun said. "I'm a pretty passionate person in most everything that I do. I think at this level, you've got to be. You've got to compete on every pitch because that's your livelihood. Everyone's fighting for the same thing and you want to come out on top."

Calhoun set the tone in a big way last season and provided the Angels with rare power from the leadoff spot. In 109 games as the leadoff hitter, Calhoun hit .281 with 17 home runs. Just six other teams were able to hit as many or more homers out of the leadoff spot in the entire 162-game slate.

In his first full Major League season, Calhoun proved he belonged, but now he needs to prove he can do it year in and year out.

Calhoun's production is vital to the Angels' success and with Josh Hamilton out for an undetermined amount of time, the Angels will need Calhoun -- and everyone else -- to step up.

Despite all of this, Calhoun kept his offseason routine the same this year and believes the best course of action is to simply stick with what's been working.

"Still the same thing, try to get better and get the body in shape throughout the offseason," Calhoun said. "Still work out at the same place, [there was] nothing specific that I was working on. I think everybody tries to get ready for spring and work on stuff there."

For as much as the 27-year-old outfielder plans to keep things the same, one thing that will be different is the recognition.

The Angels will celebrate him with a Kole Calhoun visor on June 2 and a Kole Calhoun bobblehead on June 12.

"I thought it was pretty cool to go out there and have your team recognize you like that," said Calhoun, an Arizona native. "When bobbleheads first came out I thought they were the coolest thing ever. I wanted to go to Diamondbacks' games and get all their bobbleheads when they were doing them. So to have one now is kind of surreal. It's cool for myself and my family."

William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.