Los Angeles' No. 4 prospect goes 3-for-3 with a two-run shot; LA mate Bellinger also homers for West
By William Boor
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Willie Calhoun's 5-foot-8 frame doesn't scream "power hitter," but the Dodgers' No. 4 prospect flexed his muscle all season and did so once again in the Fall Stars Game.
Calhoun went 3-for-3 with a homer, two runs scored and three RBIs and won the Bowman Most Valuable Player Award. Cody Bellinger, the Dodgers' top prospect, also homered in the West's 12-4 win over the East on Saturday night at Surprise Stadium.
"It means so much, being recognized by everyone and being the Most Valuable Player on this field is a blessing for sure," Calhoun said. "Being out here with these guys, and the talent these guys have is unreal. It's a real honor."
The No. 87 overall prospect challenged for the Texas League home run title with 27 homers in 132 games with Double-A Tulsa this season and has continued to hit in Arizona, batting .286 with a homer and four RBIs in nine games. With a quick bat and a patient approach, Calhoun profiles as a player who can hit for both average and power and on Saturday night he showed his ability to do both.
"He's awesome," Bellinger said of Calhoun. "He's my guy. We've been boys. We're going up the ladder together. I'm not surprised, he can just flat out rake."
Calhoun certainly raked Saturday night.
After hitting a pair of singles in his first two at-bats, Calhoun left a lasting impression in his final at-bat, hitting a 93 mph fastball out to right for a two-run homer.
"They were throwing into my strengths a bit tonight," Calhoun said. "Just tried to have a good plan and be able to see as much pitches as I can and that's what I was able to do tonight. I was able to put the barrel on a few balls."
Bellinger, like Calhoun, enjoyed playing on a big stage against some of the top prospects in baseball.
"It was really fun," Bellinger said. "You get guys from all different organizations, competing on TV and all your family can come watch and watch across the nation. It was a blast."
The No. 31 overall prospect went just 1-for-5, but seized the moment in front of the national audience and put the finishing touches on the West's win with a two-run homer in the sixth.
"I told them I was seeing the ball well all night," he said. "That's baseball. You strike out, you hit some balls hard. He just hung me a slider and I put a good swing on it."
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.