Angels' Top 5 right fielders: Bollinger's take

May 11th, 2020

No one loves a good debate quite like baseball fans, and with that in mind, we asked each of our beat reporters to rank the top five players by position in the history of their franchise, based on their career while playing for that club. These rankings are for fun and debate purposes only … if you don’t agree with the order, participate in the Twitter poll to vote for your favorite at this position.

Here is Rhett Bollinger's ranking of the top 5 right fielders in Angels history. Next week: Designated hitters.

Angels’ All-Time Team: C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | LF | CF

1. , 1992-2006
Key fact: 40.6 bWAR is third highest in club history

Salmon, known as King Fish or Mr. Angel, is one of the most beloved players in franchise history, as he broke in during the 1992 season and remained with the Angels for his entire career, setting the club record with 299 homers. Salmon won the organization's first Rookie of the Year Award in 1993 after hitting .283/.382/.536 with 31 homers and 95 RBIs in 142 games. Two years later, he hit a career-best .330/.429/.594 with 34 homers and 105 RBIs in 143 games, winning the Silver Slugger and finishing seventh in the balloting for American League MVP. He also finished seventh in AL MVP voting in '97 and 14th in '98.

Salmon had a down year in 2001 but had a resurgent 2002 campaign, winning AL Comeback Player of the Year honors, hitting .286/.380/.503 with 22 homers, 37 doubles and 88 RBIs in 138 games. He then played a major role in the Angels winning the World Series that season, hitting .288/.382/.525 with four homers and 12 RBIs in 16 games that postseason. He memorably hit two homers in Game 2 of the World Series against the Giants, including the go-ahead blast in the eighth inning. Salmon missed the 2005 season after undergoing left knee and right rotator cuff surgery and returned as a Minor League free agent in '06. He made the club that year and fared well in his final season, hitting .265/.361/.450 with nine homers and 27 RBIs in 76 games.

Salmon retired with a career .282/.385/.498 slash line with 299 homers, 339 doubles and 1,016 RBIs in 1,672 games with the club. He’s considered one of the best players to never be an All-Star -- his career homer total is the most by any non-All-Star. He was inducted into the Angels' Hall of Fame in 2015 and remains active with the organization, serving as an analyst with Fox Sports West.

2. , 2004-09
Key fact: 2004 AL MVP

Guerrero joined the Angels as a free agent after the 2003 season, signing a five-year deal worth $70 million in the first big move of Arte Moreno's ownership. It proved to be perhaps the best free-agent signing in club history, as Guerrero won AL MVP honors in his first year with the club. Guerrero hit .337/.391/.598 with 39 homers, 126 RBIs and an AL-leading 124 runs in 156 games. It was also the start of a streak of four straight All-Star appearances and four straight Silver Sluggers for Guerrero. He finished third in AL MVP voting in 2005, ninth in '06, third in '07 and 14th in '08. He also won the Home Run Derby in ’07.

During his six years with the Angels, Guerrero hit .319/.381/.546 with 173 homers, 194 doubles and 616 RBIs in 846 games. He also played in 29 postseason games with the club, batting .286/.365/.375 with two homers, four doubles and 14 RBIs. He had the game-winning hit off Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon in the '09 AL Division Series, sending the Angels to the AL Championship Series against the Yankees.

Guerrero left after the 2009 season, signing a one-year deal with the Rangers. Though he played his final big league season in '11 with the Orioles, he officially retired in 2014, signing a one-day contract with the Angels. He joined the Angels' Hall of Fame in '17 and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in '18, becoming the first player to be enshrined wearing an Angels cap on his plaque. He remains active with the organization and serves as a special instructor each Spring Training.

3. , 2012-19
Key fact: Gold Glove winner in 2015

Calhoun is the epitome of a hard worker. He was selected as a senior out of Arizona State in the eighth round of the 2010 Draft, but became a solid regular for the Angels in right field. Calhoun was an excellent defender in right and developed power from the left side. Calhoun won a Gold Glove in '15 and hit .256/.306/.422 with 26 homers and 83 RBIs in 159 games that season. He hit a career-high 33 blasts in '19, after which he signed a two-year deal worth $16 million with his hometown D-backs when the Angels declined to pick up his option. But he was a fan favorite during his eight seasons with the Angels and hit .249/.322/.424 with 140 homers, 167 doubles and 451 RBIs in 966 games with the club.

4. , 1982-86
Key fact: Three-time All-Star with Angels

Jackson joined the Angels as a free agent after the 1981 season, signing a five-year deal for roughly $1 million per season. Jackson had a huge first year with the club, hitting .275/.375/.532 with an MLB-best 39 homers and 101 RBIs in 153 games. He was an All-Star that year, won a Silver Slugger and finished sixth in the voting for AL MVP. He was an All-Star again in '83 and '84, but saw his batting average dip both years, hitting .194 with 14 homers in '83 and .223 with 25 homers in '84. But he remained a power threat, smacking 27 homers in '85 and 18 in '86. He helped the Angels to the postseason in '82 and '86, but hit .159 with one homer and four RBIs in 11 postseason games with the club.

5. , 1976-77
Key fact: 30-30 season in 1977

The Angels acquired Bonds in a trade before the 1976 season, sending Ed Figueroa and Mickey Rivers to the Yankees. Bonds had a down year in his first season with the Angels, hitting .265/.337/.386 with 10 homers, 54 RBIs and 30 stolen bases in 99 games. But he followed it up with an impressive season that saw him hit .264/.342/.520 with 37 homers, 115 RBIs and 41 stolen bases in 158 games. Bonds, though, was traded to the White Sox after that season, a swap that netted the Angels catcher Brian Downing, who went on to become a member of the Angels' Hall of Fame.

Honorable mentions
Leroy Stanton played with the Angels from 1972-76, hitting .247/.312/.381 with 47 homers and 242 RBIs in 594 games. His 366 hits as a right fielder ranks fourth in club history, and his 43 homers as a right fielder ranks tied for fifth with Bonds.

Dan Ford played three seasons with the Angels from 1979-81, batting .284/.332/.448 with 43 homers and 175 RBIs in 304 games. His best season came in '79, when he hit .290/.333/.464 with 21 homers and 101 RBIs in 142 games, finishing 26th in AL MVP voting.

Bobby Abreu remained productive toward the end of his career during a stint with the Angels from 2009-12, batting .267/.364/.412 with 43 homers, 75 stolen bases and 246 RBIs in 456 games. His best year with the club was in '09, when he batted .293/.390/.435 with 15 homers, 30 stolen bases and 103 RBIs in 152 games, finishing 12th in the balloting for AL MVP.