Angels All-Decade Team: 2010s Edition
Mar 5, 2019; Tempe, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) celebrates after hitting a two run home run in the third inning during a spring training game against the Chicago Cubs at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
As Los Angeles Angels baseball fans await the start of the franchise’s 60th MLB season, we’re going to go back and compile all-decade teams from the first six decades in club history.
The 2010s would feature no-hitters, huge free agent signings, and a new MLB icon in center field. Yet, the Angels appeared in only three postseason games, losing all of them.
Here’s our all-decade team for the 2010s.
First Base – Mark Trumbo
Mark Trumbo came on the scene in the wake of Kendrys Morales‘s injury that cost him the bulk of two seasons; Trumbo did not disappoint fans. A native of nearby Villa Park, Trumbo slugged 29 home runs and drove in 87 runs on his way to finishing second in the American League Rookie of the Year voting. He followed up his rookie campaign with 32 and 34 home run seasons, which included his first All-Star and Home Run Derby appearance in 2012. Trumbo was dealt to Arizona for much-needed pitching help following the 2013 season but his three seasons as the primary first baseman for the Angels were outstanding.
Second Base – Howie Kendrick
Kendrick was a consistently strong defender and great hitter in the Angels’ lineup for the latter half of the previous decade and the first half of this decade. At the time of his trade to the Dodgers in 2014, Kendrick’s 1,200 hits as an Angel rank him eighth in franchise history. He had a .292 lifetime average as an Angel, putting him in the top-10 in club history. His departure left a hole at the second base position that has yet to yield a long-term replacement to date.
Third Base – Alberto Callaspo
Prior to the arrival of David Fletcher last season, the past decade has not provided a lot of consistency at the hot corner. The Angels have seen highly-touted prospects Brandon Wood and Kaleb Cowart arrive in Anaheim only to fail to deliver consistently at the highest level. The Halos filled the position for four seasons with David Freese and Yunel Escobar. Although they both performed well at times, it was often unnoticed Alberto Callaspo that held down the hot corner with the most consistent performance for the majority of four seasons. In a decade with many players manning the hot corner in Anaheim, Callaspo earns selection to the all-decade club.
Shortstop – Erick Aybar
There is no arguing Andrelton Simmons is one of the greatest shortstops to play the game and has been a Gold Glove-caliber shortstop for the Angels the past four seasons. However, Angels fans tend to forget just how valuable Erick Aybar was to the club for six seasons prior to being dealt to Atlanta in exchange for Simmons. Aybar as an All-Star in 2014, won a Gold Glove of his own in 2011, and registered 30 or more doubles for five straight seasons between 2011 and 2015. While you can make a very strong argument for Simmons on this list, our selection goes to Aybar by the narrowest of margins.
Left Field – Justin Upton
The Angels’ left field position for the decade began with the departure of Garret Anderson, the acquisition of Vernon Wells, and the regretful courtship and signing of Josh Hamilton. It wasn’t until the Angels acquired four-time All-Star Justin Upton in August 2017 that they found themselves a long-term fit at the position. Although Upton has slumped at times and dealt with injuries, he hit 30 home runs in his first full season with the Angels last season; that’s as good as any other everyday left fielder has done for the Angels this decade.
Center Field – Mike Trout
One Rookie of the Year award, three Most Valuable Player awards, eight All-Star games (two game MVPs), and seven Silver Slugger awards. The 2009 first-round pick enters the new decade still only 28 years old, under contract with the Angels through 2030, and considered one of the greatest MLB players of all-time. The Angels are hopeful the next decade provides Trout with multiple rings.
Right Field – Kole Calhoun
Torii Hunter provided veteran leadership, tremendous defense, and solid offensive production for the Angels the first three years of the decade. Kole Calhoun came up and assumed the position from Hunter and has only gone on to be a Gold Glove winner himself at the position. Calhoun is as gritty a ballplayer as you’ll find in baseball and has hit 17 or more home runs in each of his six seasons as the Angels’ starting right fielder.
Catcher – Martin Maldonado
Martin Maldonado came along late in the decade and shined defensively behind the plate and in the clutch at the plate in his two seasons with the Angels. Maldonado earned a Gold Glove award in his first season with the Angels and was a finalist for the award in his second season with the club. Chris Iannetta performed well in his four seasons as the Halos’ primary receiver this decade but Maldonado was the best defensive catcher the Angels have seen since the Molina era.
Designated Hitter – Albert Pujols
Pujols’s years in Anaheim and the contract that was provided to him get a lot of criticism by baseball fans and media everywhere. The truth of the matter is that Pujols, while not “The Machine” he was in St. Louis, finds himself amongst the Angels’ all-time franchise leaders in many key statistical categories. Pujols currently lands in the Angels’ top-five in home runs and runs batted in even though he’s appeared in only one All-Star game as a Halo. While signed as a first baseman, Pujols has registered well over 500 games at the designated hitter position during his Angels tenure.
Utility Player – David Fletcher
David Fletcher arrived in Anaheim midway through the 2018 season and established himself as a versatile infielder with the ability to play outfield. Fletcher provided the Angels with a great utility player the club had missed since Maicer Izturis’s final season with the club in 2012. Fletcher should continue to find himself playing around the field heading into the next decade but could eventually find himself as an everyday second baseman or shortstop depending on whether the Angels can re-sign Andrelton Simmons following the 2020 season.
Jered Weaver won 18 or more games thrice during the decade and was named to three All-Star teams as an Angel. Weaver also finished in the top five in Cy Young balloting for three seasons over the past 10 years. Weaver was the Halos’ ace for the bulk of the past decade.
Garrett Richards battled injuries throughout his eight seasons with the Angels but still managed to win 45 games and strikeout almost 650 hitters. Weaver was always one of the best in their rotation when healthy.
The majority of Ervin Santana’s career with the Angels was in the previous decade but his performance early in this decade was valuable. Santana won 37 games with the Halos in three seasons between 2010 and 2012 before he was dealt to the Royals.
C.J. Wilson came to the Angels with high hopes but his time ended with several injury-plagued seasons. However, Angels fans should not forget and ignore the 43 wins he managed in his first three seasons with the club. He was deserving of a spot on the American League All-Star roster in 2012 and won 17 games for the 2013 Angels.
Dan Haren was major trade deadline acquisition in 2010; he won five games for the team down the stretch. During his two full seasons to follow with the Angels, Haren went on to win 16 and 12 games in 61 starts before departing from the club after the 2012 season.
Relief Pitchers – Ernesto Frieri and Joe Smith
Ernesto Frieri was a seemingly minor addition when acquired from the Padres early in the 2012 season. Having never converted a save in 39 MLB games in San Diego, Frieri quickly proved himself worthy of the Angels’ closer role. Over the next two-plus seasons with the Halos, Frieri would convert 71 saves for the club. He disappeared from the game soon after his time with the Halos ended but he’s forever a part of Angels closer lore.
Joe Smith was an incredibly dependable set-up man for his two-and-a-half seasons with the club, and he had the ability to close games when called upon to save the game. Smith would finish his Halos career with a 2.89 ERA in 184 games out of the Angels’ bullpen while adding 26 saves.
Manager – Mike Scioscia
Although the Angels failed to win a single postseason game in their lone Division Series appearance, Scioscia was the manager for nine of ten seasons during the decade. Brad Ausmus’s lone season as manager was a disaster so the Angels’ legendary skipper reigns manager of the decade again.