Top 5 Angels of 2012
The Five Best Angels of 2012
The 2012 season was one defined by potential for the Los Angeles Angels. For the most part, potential was all there was for the Halos. The club could not parlay a roster loaded with talent into a playoff appearance, finishing 89-73 and in third place in the American League West. A young Oakland Athletics club and an always competitive Texas Rangers squad flexed their muscle, and the Angels won't have it much easier in the immediate future.
The Angels will have a long winter to lick their wounds and plan for the difficult years ahead. Several roster moves for the Halos are in order, particularly in their underwhelming bullpen.
The Angels can take a lot of positives out of 2012, though. The most notable, of course, was the meteoric rise of rookie Mike Trout. But the Halos also have a whole lot to be happy about elsewhere in the roster. Jered Weaver and Torii Hunter both had one of the best seasons in their careers last season, and Kendrys Morales's return from a devastating injury was encouraging.
The future looks bright for the Angels, no question. But in 2012, five players stepped up and showed they have what it takes to make the team a winner. As the Angels look ahead to a possible second World Series championship in the coming years, these players may be the ones leading the charge toward the promised land.
Without further ado, let's take a look at the cream of the Angels crop in 2012.
5. Erick Aybar
Aybar's career as an Angel has long been of the feast-or-famine variety. For every fantastic play, he's made at least one devastatingly boneheaded decision. Things seemed to have made a turn for the better in 2012, as Aybar continued his string of Gold Glove-caliber defense with a strong second half at the plate. He's one of those players who might not dazzle you statistically (he had 15 errors this season) but whose contributions to the club are still invaluable.
4. Albert Pujols
We all expected a lot more from Albert Pujols, but give the guy some credit. 30 home runs may not be up to Albert's usual stats, but the figure is still nothing to sneeze at. Pujols did have his fair share of homers in key moments, but he often disappeared late in games.
3. Torii Hunter
I've gushed about this guy a little too much for comfort lately, but he was a joy to watch toward the end of the season. Hunter finished with a career-high .313 batting average, the highest of his 16-year Major League career. Statistics aside, though, Hunter made a serious case for a new contract with fantastic plays at key moments late in the season. Hunter's age is the only major factor limiting his opportunity for a new contract.
2. Jered Weaver
The Angels have had only two 20-game winners in their history: Bartolo Colon and, as of this year, Jered Weaver. Weaver also put his name in the history books with a no-hitter against the Minnesota Twins early in the season. He is by no means a guaranteed Cy Young winner this season, but he certainly deserves to be in the discussion. Weaver's greatest asset is his consistency, which largely helped to put the Angels in a position to make a run to the playoffs.
But while Weaver has a strong case to remain the face of the Angels, one player far outshined the ace's regular season efforts. Guess who.
1. Mike Trout
Talk about a no-brainer. Mike Trout is not only the best player on the Angels. He is also a major candidate (along with Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera) for the American League MVP. Trout did a fantastic job with his bat and the leather, commanding center field like a general. The best part of Trout's incredible season is the very good possibility he'll only get better from here. The future looks bright for Los Angeles if it involves Mike Trout.