Angels' all-time roster by best season

December 1st, 2021

ANAHEIM -- The Angels have seen their fair share of incredible individual seasons by players throughout their history, so is taking a look at the best single season by a player at each position.

Here’s who cracks the Angels' list.

Catcher: (1979)
Downing emerged as a star with the Angels in 1979, being named to his first All-Star team while batting .326/.418/.462 with 12 homers, 27 doubles and 75 RBIs in 148 games, including 129 at catcher. He moved away from the position by '82, but he was one of the game's best hitting backstops early in his time with the Angels.

First base: (1982)
Carew was a six-time All-Star with the Angels, but his best year with the club was in 1982, when he hit .319/.396/.403 with three homers, 25 doubles, 44 RBIs and 88 runs scored in 138 games. He was an All-Star that year and earned votes for the American League MVP Award, as he helped the club take the AL West title. The Hall of Famer beats out strong seasons from Kendrys Morales, Albert Pujols and Wally Joyner.

Second base: (1979)
Grich is one of the most underrated players in baseball history, and his best year with the club came in 1979, when he batted .294/.365/.537 with 30 homers, 30 doubles and 101 RBIs while playing great defense at second base. He was an All-Star that season and finished eighth in the balloting for the AL MVP Award. Grich beats out several strong seasons from Howie Kendrick.

Third base: (2000)
Glaus set the Angels' single-season home run record of 47, which still stands two decades later. He hit .284/.404/.604 with 37 doubles, 102 RBIs, 14 stolen bases and 120 runs scored in 159 games. Glaus was an All-Star for the first time in his career and won the Silver Slugger Award, giving him the nod over big seasons from Doug DeCinces and Chone Figgins.

Shortstop: Jim Fregosi (1964)
Fregosi was the club's first star and his best year came as a 22-year-old in 1964, when he was an All-Star and batted .277/.369/.463 with 18 homers, 22 doubles, nine triples, eight stolen bases, 72 RBIs and 86 runs scored in 147 games. He was also one of the best defensive shortstops in the league and finished 13th in the balloting for the AL MVP Award. Fregosi beat out strong years from players such as Andrelton Simmons and David Eckstein.

Left field: (2000)
Erstad is known more as a first baseman and center fielder, but one of the best seasons in franchise history came when Erstad was the club’s primary left fielder in 2000. Erstad batted .355/.409/.541 with 25 homers, 39 doubles, six triples, 28 stolen bases, 100 RBIs and 121 runs scored in 157 games. He racked up 240 hits, which was tied for the most in a single season since 1930 (Billy Terry, 254). Erstad was an All-Star, finished eighth in the balloting for AL MVP and won a Gold Glove Award and a Silver Slugger Award that year.

Center field: (2016)
It’s difficult to pick Trout’s best season, considering he’s a three-time AL MVP Award winner and finished in the top five in balloting for the award in a record nine straight seasons. But Trout had a huge MVP season in 2016, when he hit .315/.441/.550 with 29 homers, 32 doubles, 30 stolen bases, 100 RBIs and 123 runs scored in 159 games while playing strong defense in center field. He was also an All-Star and won the Silver Slugger Award that year.

Right field: (1995)
This was the most difficult decision, as Vladimir Guerrero won the AL MVP Award as a right fielder in 2004, but it's hard to top what Salmon did offensively in the shortened 1995 season. Salmon batted .330/.429/.594 with 34 homers, 34 doubles and 105 RBIs in 143 games to win the Silver Slugger Award and finish seventh in the voting for the AL MVP Award. Salmon had 6.6 bWAR that year, compared to 5.6 bWAR for Guerrero in his MVP season.

Designated hitter: Shohei Ohtani (2021)
Ohtani had one of the most historic seasons in baseball history as a two-way player in 2021, winning AL MVP honors and sweeping all of the major awards for a designated hitter, including the Silver Slugger Award, the Edgar Martinez Award and All-MLB First Team recognition. He batted .257/.372/.592 with 46 homers, 26 doubles, eight triples, 26 stolen bases, 103 runs scored and 100 RBIs in 155 games. And on the mound, he posted a 3.18 ERA with 156 strikeouts in 130 1/3 innings.

Starting pitcher: Dean Chance (1964)
Chance was incredible as a 23-year-old in 1964, winning 20 games with a 1.65 ERA in 278 1/3 innings. He led the Majors that season in ERA and innings pitched, as well as complete games (15) and shutouts (11). Chance beats out other strong seasons from Nolan Ryan, Frank Tanana, Mark Langston and Chuck Finley.

Relief pitcher: (2008)
Rodríguez set the Major League's all-time single-season saves record with 62 in 2008, posting a 2.24 ERA with 77 strikeouts in 68 1/3 innings. He was an All-Star that year and finished third in the balloting for the AL Cy Young Award and sixth for the AL MVP Award. He had other dominant seasons early in his career with the Angels, while Troy Percival also had several great seasons, including in 2002, when he saved 40 games with a 1.92 ERA and was perfect in save opportunities in the postseason.