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Los Angeles Angels: Ranking the Top 20 Pitchers in Angels History

Nathan TannerContributor IIIJanuary 10, 2017

Los Angeles Angels: Ranking the Top 20 Pitchers in Angels History

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Angels have had many great pitchers throughout their 50-year history. This slideshow ranks the top 20 pitchers to ever wear an Angels uniform.

    Did I leave anyone off? Do you agree or disagree with the order? Please share your comments below.

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    Want to read more about the Angels? Check out my previous article: Why the 2011 Halos will Bounce Back and Win the AL West

20. Ervin Santana

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Seasons as an Angel: 2005-Present

    Best Season: 2008

    Record: 16-7, ERA: 3.49, Strikeouts: 214

    Santana burst onto the scene in 2005 when he pitched a complete-game shutout in only his second career start. He's had moments of greatness, but struggles with consistency.

    Best season was 2008 when he was named to the All-Star team. Finished second in the AL in strikeouts and sixth in the AL Cy Young voting.

    Heads into his seventh season with the Angels, and is part of a solid starting rotation.

19. Bert Blyleven

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    Ken Levine/Getty Images

    Seasons as an Angel: 1989-1992

    Best Season: 1989

    Record: 17-5, ERA: 2.73, Strikeouts: 131

     

    Pitched only a few seasons with the Angels, and was often injured.

    1989 season was memorable—won 17 games and finished fourth in AL Cy Young voting.

    Struck out 3,701 batters throughout his career, placing him fifth all-time.

    Inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 2011. One of two Halos pitchers to be recognized in Cooperstown.

18. Bob Lee

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    Seasons as an Angel: 1964-1966

    Best Season: 1964

    Saves: 19, ERA: 1.51, Strikeouts: 111

     

    First big-time closer for the Angels.

    1.51 ERA in 1964 gives him the lowest ERA in team history.

    Made his only All-Star appearance in 1965.

    Played only three seasons with the Angels, but his 58 saves gives him the fifth-most saves in team history.

17. Jim Abbott

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Seasons as an Angel: 1989-1992, 1995-1996

    Best Season: 1991

    Record: 18-11, ERA: 2.89, Strikeouts: 158

     

    Will never be forgotten by Angels fans. Pitched very effectively despite having only one hand.

    Was able to quickly transfer his glove between arms so that he could both pitch and field as needed.

    Drafted with the Angels' first pick in 1988. As a rookie, Abbott joined the starting rotation without playing in a minor league game.

    Never made excuses for his physical setback. Was an inspiring athlete, a fine pitcher and an example to many.

    Currently works as a motivational speaker.

16. Bartolo Colon

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Seasons as an Angel: 2004-2007

    Best Season: 2005

    Record: 21-8, ERA: 3.48, Strikeouts: 157

     

    Won the AL Cy Young Award in 2005—first Angels pitcher to win since Dean Chance in 1964.

    Made one All-Star game appearance while with the Angels.

    Pitched very inconsistently during his four years as a Halo. Struggled to manage his weight and was often injured.

    Like several Angels before him, Colon never lived up to his full potential.

15. Bryan Harvey

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    Ken Levine/Getty Images

    Seasons as an Angel: 1987-1992

    Best Season: 1991

    Saves: 46, ERA: 1.60, Strikeouts: 101

     

    Runner-up in Rookie of the Year balloting in 1988.

    Made his only All-Star appearance with the Halos in 1991.

    126 saves as an Angel ranks him third all-time.

    Saved 46 games in 1991, placing him fourth for most saves in team history.

14. Jered Weaver

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    Rob Tringali/Getty Images

    Seasons as an Angel: 2006-Present

    Best Season: 2010

    Record: 13-12, ERA: 3.01, Strikeouts: 233

     

    Won the first nine starts of his career, tying Whitey Ford’s AL record.

    Pitched an incredible rookie season, posting an 11-2 record and a 2.56 ERA.

    Struck out 233 batters in 2010—the most in baseball that season.

    Made the 2010 All-Star team.

    Ranks second in Angels history in win percentage (.621).

    When called up to the big leagues in 2006, his brother Jeff Weaver was sent back to the minors.

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    Link to Doug Mead's article arguing why Jered Weaver is underrated

13. Andy Messersmith

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    Seasons as an Angel: 1968-1972

    Best Season: 1971

    Record: 20-13, ERA: 2.99, Strikeouts: 179

     

    Completed his Angels career with a 2.78 ERA, the lowest in team history.

    Widely viewed as a great fielding-pitcher—won Gold Gloves in 1974 and 1975.

    Ranks seventh in complete games and eighth in shutouts in Angels franchise history.

    Won 20 games in 1971—the fifth-most in team history. Named to the All-Star team that season.

    Helped bring in the free agency era, and was key in the 1975 Seitz decision.

12. Jarrod Washburn

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    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    Seasons as an Angel: 1998-2005

    Best Season: 2002

    Record: 18-6, ERA: 3.15, Strikeouts: 139

     

    Finished 2002 with the fourth-most AL Cy Young votes.

    Pitched very well in the first two rounds of the 2002 playoffs.

    Started Game 1 and Game 5 of the 2002 World Series, but gave up 10 combined runs.

    Ranks tenth in complete games for the Angels with 75.

    Career stats are not overly impressive, but picked the perfect year to peak. Washburn's best season was the year the Angels won the Championship.

11. Clyde Wright

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    Seasons as an Angel: 1966-1973

    Best Season: 1970

    Record: 22-12, ERA: 2.83, Strikeouts: 110

     

    Threw a no-hitter in 1970, the first one to occur at Angels stadium. Made the All-Star team that year.

    Won 22 games in 1970—tied with Nolan Ryan for most wins in a season by an Angel.

    87 wins place him seventh in team history.

    His son, Jaret, also pitched in the majors.

10. Mark Langston

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    Markus Boesch/Getty Images

    Seasons as an Angel: 1990-1997

    Best Season: 1991

    Record: 19-8, ERA: 3.00, Strikeouts: 183

     

    Signed a five-year, $16 million contract in December 1989—made him the highest-paid baseball player at the time.

    Teamed up with Mike Witt to throw a no-hitter in 1990—Langston pitched the first seven innings and Witt pitched the last two. The Angels have not had a no-hitter since.

    Ranks sixth in Angels' history for most innings pitched (1,445), most games started (210) and most wins in a season (19).

    Selected to three All-Star games while with the Angels (1991-1993).

    Won seven Gold Gloves during his career, five of them with the Angels.

    Retired with 91 career pickoffs—the most in baseball history at the time of his retirement.

9. Scot Shields

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Seasons as an Angel: 2001-2010

    Best Season: 2005

    Holds: 32, ERA: 2.75, Strikeouts: 98

     

    Set a team record for most pitching appearances in a season with 78 (2005).

    Dubbed the “Setup Man of the Decade” by Sports Illustrated.

    Member of the 2002 World Series team.

    Only Angels pitcher to play in the 2006 World Baseball Classic.

    Never received proper recognition because he wasn't a starting or closing pitcher.

    3.18 ERA is the seventh-best in team history.

    Averaged 90 innings per season from 2002-2008. Won 45 games and had an ERA of 2.98 during those years.

    During college, Shields pitched a 16-inning game and threw 261 pitches.

8. Dean Chance

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    Seasons as an Angel: 1961-1966

    Best Season: 1964

    Record: 20-9, ERA: 1.65, Strikeouts: 207

     

    Won the Cy Young Award in 1964. His 1.65 ERA was the second-lowest in team history.

    Made one All-Star appearance during his six-year stint with the Angels.

    Holds the team record for most shutouts in a season with 11 (1964).

    21 career shutouts places him third in franchise history.

    Tied for fifth in most wins in a season by an Angel (20).

    Completed his Angels career with a 2.83 ERA, the second-lowest in team history.

7. Troy Percival

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    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Seasons as an Angel: 1995-2004

    Best Season: 2002

    Saves: 40, ERA: 1.92, Strikeouts: 68

     

    Career-high 42 saves in 1998.

    Integral member of 2002 World Series championship team, saving Game 2, Game 6 and Game 7.

    Saved 358 games during his career, the eighth-most in MLB history.

    Selected to four All-Star teams while on the Halos.

    Recorded more saves than any other Angel in team history (316).

6. Frank Tanana

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    Seasons as an Angel: 1973-1980

    Best Season: 1976

    Record: 19-10, ERA: 2.43, Strikeouts: 261

     

    Led the league in strikeouts in 1975. Led the league in ERA and shutouts in 1977.

    Struck out 17 batters one game (1975).

    Known for his 100+ MPH fastball.

    One of two pitchers in MLB history to give up a home run to Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds.

    Three-time All-Star while with Angels.

    Ranks fourth all-time in team wins (102), strikeouts (1,233) and innings pitched (1,615).

    Recorded 24 shutouts as an Angel, the second-most in franchise history.

5. John Lackey

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Seasons as an Angel: 2002-2009

    Best Season: 2007

    Record: 19-9, ERA: 3.01, Strikeouts: 179

     

    Won Game 7 of the 2002 World Series. First rookie to start and win a Game 7 since Babe Adams of the 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates.

    Selected to the All-Star team, led the AL in ERA and ranked third in AL Cy Young voting during his 2007 campaign.

    Helped take the Angels to the playoffs five times during his eight seasons with the team.

    Won 102 games while with the Angels, ranking him fourth all-time.

    Recorded the fifth-most strikeouts (1,201) and innings pitched (1,501) in team history.

4. Francisco Rodriguez

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Seasons as an Angel: 2002-2008

    Best Season: 2008

    Saves: 62, ERA: 2.24, Strikeouts: 77

     

    Holds the MLB record for most saves in a season with 62 (2008). Ranked third in CY Young balloting that season.

    Won five games during the Angels 2002 playoff run. Became the youngest pitcher to win a World Series game (20 years, 286 days).

    Took over as the Angels' closer when Troy Percival departed in 2005.

    Had four consecutive seasons of recording at least 40 saves.

    Three-time American League saves champion (2005, 2006, 2008).

    Made the All-Star team three times while with the Angels.

    Ranks second on the Angels' all-time saves list with 208.

3. Mike Witt

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Seasons as an Angel: 1981-1990

    Best Season: 1986

    Record: 18-10, ERA: 2.84, Strikeouts: 208

     

    Made his major league debut with the Angels at age 20.

    Became the only Angel to throw a perfect game. Witt struck out 10 batters and threw only 94 pitches. Pitched his perfect game on the last day of the 1984 season.

    Selected to two All-Star teams while with the Halos.

    Lost his ability to overpower hitters in 1987 and was never the same again.

    Third-most wins in Angels history (102).

    Ranks third in team history in strikeouts (1,283), innings pitched (1,965) and complete games (70).

2. Chuck Finley

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Seasons as an Angel: 1986-1999

    Best Season: 1990

    Record: 18-9, ERA: 2.40, Strikeouts: 177

     

    Won 15 games or more six times while with the Angels.

    Only pitcher in baseball history to record four strikeouts in a single inning more than once.

    Selected to five All-Star teams during his 14 seasons as an Angel.

    All-time Angels leader in wins (165) and innings pitched (2,675).

    Pitched 14 shutout games—fourth-most in team history.

    While an Angel, Finley struck-out 2,151 batters. Only Nolan Ryan had more strikeouts.

1. Nolan Ryan

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    Seasons as an Angel: 1972-1979

    Best Season: 1973

    Record: 21-16, ERA: 2.87, Strikeouts: 383

     

    Struck out a league-leading 329 batters in his first season as an Angel.

    Struck out 383 hitters in his second year, the most recorded in a season since 1886.

    Threw four no-hitters while wearing an Angels jersey.

    Selected to five All-Star teams during his eight seasons with the team.

    Angels record-holder in strikeouts (2,416), shutouts (40) and complete games (156).

    Ranks second all-time in team wins (138).

    Holds the MLB record for most career strikeouts (5,714), seasons pitched (27) and no-hitters (7).

    Despite his dominance, Ryan never won a Cy Young Award.

    Inducted into the Hall of Fame and had his jersey retired by the Angels in 1992.

     

    Did I leave anyone off? Do you disagree with the order? Please share your comments below.

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    Want to read more about the Angels? Check out my previous article: Why the 2011 Halos will Bounce Back and Win the AL West

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