Top 10 Los Angeles Angels Outfielders Of Past 10 Years
Los Angeles Angels
News that center fielder Peter Bourjos will miss a few games due to a swollen thumb means that the Los Angeles Angels must once again juggle their outfield. J.B. Shuck (.290) will likely fill in for the injured Bourjos as the Halos scramble to put together enough offense to contend in the American League West.
Earlier this season, Los Angeles would have had Vernon Wells fill in at center field, though his presence and the majority of his hefty salary are certainly not missed by a team beset by the weighty contracts of Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.
Though the Angels were supposed to have a loaded outfield in Mike Trout, Bourjos and Hamilton, the injury to Bourjos and Hamilton's train-wreck of a season have forced Trout to carry the load on both offense and defense. Though the young star is happy to do so, the Angels need to get healthy and find consistency at all three outfield positions if the season is to be salvaged.
Over the past decade, the Halos have been fortunate to have had several talented players covering the outfield grass. Some wore an Angel uniform for just a season or two, while others solidified their place in Anaheim with their consistent, stellar play. Some were Gold Glovers, others were sluggers whom the Angels miss dearly given the franchise's current struggles.
Finally, all of these players have sentimental value for me, as the past 10 years account for more than half the time I have been following the stars of Angel Stadium. With that, here are my top 10 Angel outfielders of the past decade.
10. Juan Rivera
Though the Venezuelan's hitting stats varied a great deal from season to season, Rivera's arm was a consistent threat in the Angel outfield. His best season came in 2006 when he collected 23 home runs and 85 RBIs on .310 hitting.
9. Mark Trumbo
In just his third full season as an Angel, Trumbo has continued his slugging ways. If he continues at his current pace, he will have averaged 32 home runs and 96 RBIs on .258 hitting per season. Not too shabby for a guy making just $540,000. Look for him to get a big boost in pay when he comes up for arbitration in 2014.
8. Bobby Abreu
The beefy Abreu was deceptively adept at base stealing, snagging 75 bases in three full years in Anaheim. Though the lefty lost most of his power by the time he joined the Angels, he was excellent with runners in scoring position, evidenced by his 103 RBIs on just 15 home runs in the 2009 campaign.
7. Jose Guillen
The notoriously temperamental Guillen was a volatile clubhouse personality, but he was the Angels' second-best hitter during his lone season with the squad in 2004 when he hit 27 home runs and 104 RBIs on .294 hitting. His arm was nothing to sneeze at either; Guillen threw out nine runners from left field that year.
6. Tim Salmon
I'll admit, Salmon is here more for personal, sentimental value than for his production in 2003, 2004 and 2006. Nevertheless, the Kingfish was the face of the Angels franchise throughout the late '90s and early 2000s, his class and overall likability bringing a smile to many a Halos fan. His ability to "go upstream" didn't hurt either; he finished seventh in MVP balloting in 1997, slugging 33 home runs and 126 RBIs on .296 hitting.
Though he was a shadow of his former self (in his play if not in his physique) by 2003, Salmon remains a fan favorite to this day.
5. Darin Erstad
A relentless force in center field, no one flung his body at warning track fly balls with more abandon than Erstad. His hustle and penchant for spectacular playmaking was recognized when he won a Gold Glove in 2004, though he never came close to maintaining his ridiculous batting numbers from 2000 (.355, 25 HRs, 100 RBIs). Nevertheless, Angel fans will always remember Darin Erstad not for his diving catches, but for the routine fly ball he snagged to clinch the 2002 World Series for the Halos.
4. Torii Hunter
Though the Angels were correct not to re-up Hunter at his asking price ($13 million this season), they have to be missing his contributions. This year for the Detroit Tigers, Hunter is hitting .299 a year after he hit .313 and knocked in 92 runs for the Halos. His flashy smile, strong leadership presence and two Golden Gloves endeared him to Angel fans.
3. Garret Anderson
Nobody exuded calm at the plate the way Anderson did. His swing was so pretty you wanted to paint it, and his cuts got good results more often than not. He averaged 18 home runs and 89 RBIs from 2003-2008, and even surprised everyone with his dark horse 2003 Home Run Derby title. Anderson played every one of his 17 seasons with the Halos, and for that he is beloved in Anaheim.
2. Mike Trout
I guess it's possible that Trout could somehow ruin the tremendous run he's had in his young career, but I sure don't see it happening. His rookie season would be ridiculous enough in its own right (.326, 30 HRs, 83 RBIs, 8 3B, 49 SB in 139 games), but Trout has proven that it was no fluke with his solid sophomore campaign (.306, 12 HR, 42 RBI, 18 SB through 76 games). No player in recent memory has electrified the Halo faithful the way Trout has, whether through his legendary, home run-robbing catches in center field or through his ever-reliable bat. He is a true five-tool player and one of the few in the major leagues. Trout's exploits drew public admiration from none other than Kobe Bryant, and Halo fans would be ecstatic if the young outfielder's career could take off on a similar trajectory as that of the superstar shooting guard.
1. Vladimir Guerrero
Big. Daddy. Vladdy. No one was more affable in the clubhouse or more dangerous at the plate than Guerrero during his six seasons with the Angels. His monster year in 2004 (.337, 39 HRs, 126 RBIs) earned him American League MVP honors and instantly made him a fan favorite.
His floppy dreadlocks, carefree smile and tendency to swing at and crush every pitch within a zipcode of the plate infused Vladdy with a warmth and vulnerability complimenting his deadly play. He didn't wear batting gloves, he didn't adjust his hitting approach based on the situation, and he didn't seem to care about plate discipline. Guerrero was born to knock the cover off of the hardball, and that he did with relish. Factor in his cannon of an arm in right field, and you have the best Angel outfielder of the past decade, hands down.
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