Angels fans have had the pleasure of watching the greatest player in the game finish every season as an MVP finalist. They’ve been able to experience an exciting press conference in front of Angel Stadium introducing the dual signings of future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols and left-handed ace C.J. Wilson, only to be followed in the more recent off-seasons with the signing of international two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani followed by this spring’s lifetime contract to Mike Trout.
This decade followed the franchise’s most successful decade in history which included more post-season appearances than ever before, including their first World Series title. The past ten seasons have resulted in just one post-season appearance in which they were swept by the World Series champion-to-be Kansas City Royals.
Still, through the highs and the lows the Angels have fielded some talented line-ups this past decade and in doing so have comprised the following Angels All-Decade Team.
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 — and he 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’ line-up the latter half of the previous decade and first half of this decade. At the time of his trade to the Dodgers in 2014, Kendrick’s 1,200 hits as an Angel ranks him eighth in franchise history. He had a .292 lifetime average as an Angels which is top ten in club history and left a hole at the second base position that has yet to yield a long-term replacement to date.
Third Base – Alberto Callaspo
The arrival of versatile David Fletcher last season and the debut of Matt Thaiss this year provided a lot of optimism for fans looking ahead at the hot corner. However, the past decade has not provided a lot of consistency at the position. 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, both starting two seasons apiece. Although they both performed well at times, it was often he unnoticed Callaspo that managed for the hot corner with the most consistent performance for the majority of four seasons. Callaspo has almost a 3.0 WAR lead over the next Angels third baseman the past ten years, earning him this position on the all-decade team.
Shortstop – Andrelton Simmons
While Erick Aybar was invaluable at the shortstop position for the Halos the first six seasons of the decade, Andrelton Simmons has exceeded Aybar’s performance the past four years. Simmons has earned two Gold Glove awards and finished in the top fifteen in Most Valuable Player voting two of his four seasons as a Halo. Simba also has a higher WAR than Aybar during his tenure with the Halos in two fewer seasons. Aybar was 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. Despite that resume, it’s Simmons that owns the shortstop position for the decade.
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 and 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, two Most Valuable Player awards (so far), eight All-Star games (two game MVPs), and six Silver Slugger awards (so far). Enough said.
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 was called up during Hunter’s final season in Anaheim and assumed the position and went on to be a Gold Glove winner and an annual finalist for the award at the position. Calhoun is as gritty a ballplayer as you’ll find in baseball and has hit seventeen or more home runs each of his past six seasons as a starting right fielder.
Catcher – Martin Maldonado
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 the 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 plate protector 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 finds himself 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 five hundred games at the designated hitter position during his Angels tenure.
Starting Rotation – Jered Weaver, Garrett Richards, Ervin Santana, C.J. Wilson, Dan Haren
Jered Weaver won 18 or more games three times during the decade and was named to three All-Star teams during the decade as an Angel. Weaver also finished in the top five in Cy Young balloting for three seasons over the past ten years. Weaver was the Halos’ ace for the bulk of the past ten years.
Garrett Richards battled injuries throughout his eight seasons with the Angels but still managed to win 45 games and struck out almost six hundred fifty hitters. Still one of the best in their rotation when healthy, Richards was always their stopper.
The majority of Ervin Santana’s career with the Angels was in the previous decade but his performance early in this decade was valuable, too. Santana won 37 games with the Halos in his three seasons between 2010 and 2012 before he was dealt to the Royals.
C.J. Wilson came to the Angels with high hopes and his time ended with several injury-plagued seasons. Angels fans should not forget or ignore the 43 wins he managed in his first three seasons with the club. He earned a spot on the American League All-Star roster in 2012 and won 17 games for the 2013 Angels.
Dan Haren was a major trade deadline acquisition in 2010 and 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 the club after the 2012 season.
Closer – Ernesto Frieri
While Huston Street came to the Angels from San Diego with much fanfare, Ernesto Frieri was a seemingly minor acquisition when acquired from the Friars seasons prior. Having never converted a save in 39 MLB games in San Diego, Frieri quickly became the Angels closer in Anaheim. Over the next two-plus seasons with the Halos, Frieri would convert 71 saves for the Angels. Frieri disappeared from the game soon after his time with the Halos ended but he’s forever a part of Angels closer lore. It was close call between Frieri and Street but the nod was given to Frieri as his success was far more unexpected.
It’s hard to say what the next decade will bring but with Mike Trout signed for the decade and Jo Adell on the horizon, things look promising for Angels fans.