As an Angels fan, I thought it would be fun to start my list of All-Time teams with the Angels. I will be creating All-Time teams for every Major League team over the next few months so stayed tuned for your team!
For each team I will be listing three starting pitchers, as well as a few relief pitchers. After that, I will be listing two players at each position that were the best player at that position. I will be leaving out the DH and having a utility player instead, this could be a DH for some teams, or just a great utility player for others. To come up with this list I went through Baseball Reference and looked at each player’s WAR while with the team to decide who deserves to be on the list. Let’s get started with the starting pitchers!
Chuck Finley, WAR 52:
As a pitcher for the California Angels and the Anaheim Angels, Chuck Finley compiled an overall record of 165-140 for an overall win percentage of .541. He was a four-time all-star with the Angels and had an overall ERA of 3.72 in 436 games. During his 14 years with the Angels he was able to compile 2151 strikeouts in 2675 innings pitched. These stats helped lead him to his 52 WAR with Angels, and the most WAR of any Angels pitcher all-time.
Nolan Ryan, WAR 40:
Nolan Ryan had a long and amazing career as a pitcher in the Major Leagues. Ryan managed to compile a 27-year career playing for four different teams. The Angels managed to trade Jim Fregosi for him leading into the 1972 season, and he spent 8 seasons pitching for the Angels. He had an overall record with the Angels of 138-121 and a win percentage of .533. In his 8 seasons with the Angels, Ryan was an all-star 5 times with an ERA of 3.07 in 291 games. Nolan Ryan is the all-time strikeout leader for Major League Baseball with 5714, and managed to get 2416 of those strike outs with the Angels in 2181.1 innings pitched. In his 8 seasons with Angels, Ryan was able to reach a WAR of 40 for the second most all-time with the Angels. It can be argued that Ryan is the best pitcher for the Angels in their history.
Jered Weaver, WAR 36.1:
Jered Weaver played 11 seasons with the Angels, during that time he was the Ace of their rotation. In his 11 seasons with the Angels, Weaver had a record of 150-93 for a winning percentage of .617. He was named an all-star 3 times, from 2010-2012 when he compiled a strong record 49-25 and an ERA of 2.74 during those three straight seasons. Overall, with the Angels, Weaver had an ERA of 3.55 in his 11 seasons. Weaver finished his Angels career with 1598 strikeouts in 2025 innings pitched. These stats led Weaver to the third highest pitching WAR in Angels history with 36.1.
Troy Percival, WAR 16.8:
Troy Percival played 10 seasons with the Angels and had an ERA of 2.99 in 579 appearances. Over his 10 seasons Percival was able to get 316 saves and 680 strike outs. Percival was an all-star 4 times with the Angels and was the closer for the Angels one and only World Series win in 2002. Percival has the highest WAR of any Angels relief pitcher, and why he is first on this list.
Francisco Rodriguez, WAR 16:
Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez, made a name for himself during the Angels run to the World Series in 2002. Rodriguez had a 7-season run with the Angels in which he had an ERA of 2.35 in 408 appearances. During those 7 seasons he compiled 208 saves and 587 strike outs in just 451.2 innings pitched. His WAR of 16 is the second most of any Angels relief pitcher.
Bob Boone, WAR 12.1:
The Angels have not had the greatest track record at catcher in terms of high WAR, over Boone’s entire career he ranks 53rd all-time in WAR. As an Angel his WAR was 12.1 of his total 27.4 WAR for his career. In his 7 years with the Angels Boone won the Gold Glove Award 5 times and an all-star 1 time. Boone had a career average of .245 in his 7 seasons with the Angels. Boone’s ability to make contact and put the ball in play made him valuable, as he only struck out 248 time in 3391 plate appearances with Angels.
Bengie Molina, WAR 7.4:
In his 8 seasons with the Angels, Molina won 2 Gold Glove Awards and was the starting catcher and anchor for the 2002 World Series team. Molina had a career average with the Angels of .273 and came up with many clutch hits for the team. In his time with the Angels Molina was amazing on defense with a .994 fielding percentage. The WAR might not be particularly high, but Molina did many things to help the Angels, and is part of their only World Series, which makes him their all-time backup catcher.
Wally Joyner, WAR 19:
First base was another position in which the Angels have not had high WAR numbers, but Wally Joyner stands above the rest with his WAR of 18.9 in 7 seasons with the Angels. Joyner kicked off his career with the Angels coming in as the runner-up for Rookie of the Year and earning his one and only all-star bid. In his career with the Angels, Joyner had a batting average of .289 and was another guy that you could trust to put the ball in play, striking out 349 times in 3774 plate appearances. Joyner was a strong staple for the Angels in the late 80’s and early 90’s at first base.
Rod Carew, WAR 17.4:
Many people think of Carew as an amazing Hall of Fame second baseman, and he was for the Minnesota Twins. He played 7 seasons with the Angels at the tail end of his career, where he played most of his time at first base. Carew had an illustrious 19-year career in which, he was voted an all-star 18 times. The only year he missed out on the all-star games was his final season with the Angels. He was a 6-time all-star with the Angels, with a batting average of .314. Carew was one of the best of his time when it came to putting the ball in play with solid contact. He had an 8% strike out rate in his 7 seasons with the Angels.
Bobby Grich, WAR 35.1:
Bobby Grich played 10 seasons with the Angels in which he was voted an all-star 3 times and won a Silver Slugger Award in 1981. Grich had .269 career average for the Angels while hitting 154 home runs and 557 RBIs. In 1981, the strike shortened the season, yet Grich managed to lead the league that year with 22 home runs and a league high .543 slugging percentage.
Howie Kendrick, WAR 28.5:
Kendrick had a 9-year career with Angels in which he was voted to 1 all-star team. Kendrick put together a .292 career batting average for the Angels. Kendrick was somewhat of a doubles machine with 20% of his hits with the Angels being a double. He also had 78 homeruns and 501 RBIs in his 9 years with the team. Kendrick was a valuable 2nd baseman for the Angels in his 9 years with the team, and that position has been somewhat of a hole in their lineup since he left the team after the 2014 season.
Troy Glaus, WAR 22.6:
Glaus was one of only a couple 3rd baseman that were considered for the list. Third base has been a tough position for the Angels in their history. Glaus was a 3-time all-star and won the Silver Slugger Award 2 times as Angel. In his 7 years with the team Glaus managed to hit for a batting average of .253 with 182 home runs and 515 RBIs. Glaus was very clutch for the Angels in the postseason as he .345 with 9 home runs and 16 RBIs in four playoff series. He was also named the World Series MVP in 2002 hitting .385 with 3 homeruns and 8 RBIs.
Doug DeCinces, WAR 18.9:
DeCinces played for the Angels in the early 80s after turning 31. In his first season with the Angels, DeCinces won his one and only Silver Slugger award in 1982. He followed up that season with another solid year leading to his first and only all-star appearance. DeCinces finished his 6-year career with the Angels with a batting average of .265, 130 homeruns and 481 RBIs.
Jim Fregosi, WAR 45.9:
Fregosi played 11 seasons with the Angels, getting his first taste of the Big Leagues at 19 years old in 1961. During his time with the Angels, Fregosi was named an all-star 6 times from 1963 to 1970, as well as winning his only Gold Glove Award in 1967. Fregosi had a career batting average of .268 while hitting 115 homeruns and driving in 546 runs. Fregosi was also traded for Nolan Ryan in the latter part of his career, which paid big dividends for the Angels. Fregosi was never the same player after he left the Angels, and Nolan Ryan was just coming into his prime years.
Andrelton Simmons, WAR 20.4:
Many people might add Erick Aybar as the second-best shortstop in Angels baseball history as he has a slightly higher WAR than Simmons. Aybar compiled his WAR over ten seasons with the Angels and Simmons has only played four seasons with the Angels. If he can continue his pace, he may go down as the best shortstop in Angels history. Simmons is one of, if not the best defensive shortstop in baseball at this time. He has won 2 Gold Glove Awards in his 4 seasons with the Angels. He has also been better than expected at the plate with an average of .280, 36 home runs and 228 RBIs. Look for Simmons to continue to add to his WAR and pass Jim Fregosi as the best shortstop in Angels history.
Mike Trout, WAR 72.8:
Trout has been arguably the best player in baseball for the last 9 seasons with the Angels. Trout got his call up with the Angels in 2011 when he was just 19 years old and struggled a bit in his 40 games. After that season, Trout has been named to 8 straight all-star games, won Rookie of the Year, won 3 MVP Awards, and 7 Silver Slugger awards. Trout is already ranked 56th in WAR and has only played 8 full seasons. His career average is .305 with 285 homeruns and 752 RBIs, he is already one of the best Angels of all-time. Trout has also stolen 200 bases in his career thus far, and continually leads the league in on-base percentage. With his new contract it looks like he will be an Angel for life and could break most of the Angel records.
Tim Salmon, WAR 40.6:
Just like Trout, Salmon was called up for a cup of tea in the big leagues and struggled early on. After that call up, Salmon went on to win the Rookie of the Year award in 1993. Salmon also won his one and only Silver Slugger award in 1995 when he hit .330 with 34 home runs and 105 RBIs. Salmon was nicknamed “Mr. Angel” as he spent his entire 14-year career with the team. In those 14 years Salmon had a career average of .282 with 299 homeruns and 1016 RBIs. Salmon also had a great series in the World Series hitting .346 with 2 homeruns and 5 RBIs as part of the only Angels World Series team.
Garret Anderson, WAR 28.1:
Anderson played alongside Tim Salmon for most of his career playing 15 seasons with the Angels. Anderson was the runner-up for the Rookie of the Year award in 1995. Anderson made 3 all-star teams in his career with the Angels and also won 2 Silver Slugger Awards in back to back seasons. In his career with the Angels, Anderson had an average of .296 with 272 home runs and 1292 RBIs. Anderson also had a solid postseason career with the Angels hitting .245 with 5 home runs and 22 RBIs in 36 games.
Vladimir Guerrero, WAR 22.8:
Guerrero joined the Angels in 2004 after 8 seasons with the Montreal Expos. In his first season with the Angels, Guerrero proved to be a very valuable pick up as he hit .337 with 39 home runs and 126 RBIs, leading to his only MVP Award. After that season, he continued to impress the Angels by posting a career average of .319 with 173 homeruns and 616 RBIs in 6 seasons with the team. Guerrero was also an all-star selection 4 times in his 6 seasons with the team.
Brian Downing, WAR 38.1:
Downing joined the Angels in 1978 and followed up his first year with the Angels by making his only all-star team in 1979. Downing was a great utility guy for the Angels, as he played catcher, 3rd base, left field, and right field in his 13 seasons with the team. Overall, he had a career batting average of .271 with 222 homeruns and 846 RBIs with the Angels. Downing played an integral for the Angels in his time with the team, as a guy that could play all over the field and help out whenever he was needed.
Darin Erstad, WAR 32.5:
Erstad was also considered a bit of a jack of all trades in his career even though he was a lefty and his positions were limited. Erstad still managed to play all three outfield positions and first base while with the Angels. Erstad won 3 Gold Glove Awards, 1 Silver Slugger Award, and had 2 all-star selections in his 11 seasons with the team. In the 2002 playoffs, Erstad hit .354 with 2 homeruns and 7 RBIs, helping to lead the Angels to their World Series title that season. For his career, he had a batting average of .286 with 114 homeruns and 625 RBIs with the Angels. Erstad was the definition of gamer and would do whatever it took on the field to get the job done and win the game. He is a guy I would always want on my team.
That is your all-time Angels roster! I am sure that there are many players that could have been on this list, that didn’t make it. If any of my Angels fans or just die hard baseball fans out there think that I missed anybody, please leave a comment with your player and why. Thank you for reading and I will see you next week with the Seattle Mariners all-time team!
Photo Credit to For The Win (ftw.usatoday.com)
I am a former college baseball player that has a constant love for the game. After I had injuries that left me unable to play anymore I have always wanted to stay in the game. Now I will be able to stay in the game by writing about the sport that I love.