Angels' best seasons by hitters (not all Trout!)

November 30th, 2020

MLB.com is ranking the Top 5 individual seasons by a position player for each club, but the Angels are a unique case due to the sheer dominance of superstar Mike Trout.

Trout has won three American League MVP Awards and owns the Top 5 seasons in Wins Above Replacement by position players in Angels history, per baseball-reference.com. So with that in mind, only Trout’s best season was considered, giving an opportunity for others to make the list of the Top 5 individual offensive seasons in Angels history:

1) , 2016
It’s almost impossible to pick Trout’s best season, but it's hard to argue with 2016, when he batted .315/.441/.550 with 29 homers, 100 RBIs and 30 stolen bases. He also led the league with 123 runs scored and posted 10.5 WAR, which is tied for his best in a single season with his rookie year in 2012. Trout didn't win the MVP in '12 -- finishing second to Miguel Cabrera -- but he did win it in '16, giving that season the slight edge as his best.

2) , 2000
Erstad had several strong years for the Angels, but his best was undeniably in 2000, when he batted .355/.409/.541 with 25 homers, 100 RBIs, 28 stolen bases and 121 runs in 157 games. He led MLB with 240 hits that season, which are tied for 13th most in Major League history. At the time, Erstad’s 240 hits (along with Wade Boggs) were the most since 1930. He posted 8.3 WAR that season, the most by an Angels position player not named Mike Trout.

3) Jim Fregosi, 1964
Fregosi often gets overlooked despite ranking second on the club's all-time WAR list behind Trout. But he did just about everything well and put it all together in 1964, batting .277/.369/.463 with 18 homers, 22 doubles, nine triples, eight stolen bases, 72 RBIs and 86 runs scored in 147 games while being one of the top defensive players in the league. Fregosi posted 7.9 WAR that year, which ranked second in the American League, yet he finished 13th in the balloting for AL MVP.

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4) , 2004
Guerrero made an immediate impact in his first year with the Angels, batting .337/.391/.598 with 39 homers, 39 doubles and 126 RBIs in 156 games to win AL MVP honors. Advanced statistics didn't like his defense that year, which is why he finished with only 5.6 WAR. Other notable Angels have put up better seasons, according to WAR, such as Troy Glaus in 2000 (7.8 WAR) and Andrelton Simmons in 2017 (7.8 WAR), but Guerrero was the league's MVP and he won it in convincing fashion, receiving 21 out of 28 possible first-place votes.

5) , 1979
Much like Guerrero in 2004, Baylor didn't wow with a high WAR total in 1979, but he was overwhelmingly voted as the league's MVP (20 first-place votes). Baylor posted 3.7 WAR but was one of the league's best hitters, batting .296/.371/.530 with 36 homers, 22 stolen bases and 139 RBIs in 162 games. Baylor's 139 RBIs remain the club record, and his season was paramount in helping the Angels gain fans. Baylor, affectionately nicknamed “Groove,” helped lead the Angels to their first postseason appearance that year and was the club’s first AL MVP.