LA Angels best season at each position: First base
The LA Angels have been a team since the 1960’s. In that time, some incredibly good players have played with the team, coaches have worked with the team, and announcers have been in the booth for the Halos.
Last week we began a recurring series, highlighting the best overall seasons at each position in LA Angels history. Using a point system, we started with catcher. To save space you can find that article and the points breakdown here.
Over the years many a good player has made that stretch at first for the putout, but the best season at first base was a bit of surprise even to this author. While some of the names you expect to see were close, the leader was more recent and is still in the majors.
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The best season at first base in LA Angels history is none other than Kendrys Morales in 2009 with 5 points. That season was his last full season before the leg injury that sidelined him for almost two seasons worth of games.
For the 2009 season, Morales turned a .306/ .355/ .569 line to go along with a 4.3 WAR. While the difference between Morales and his closest competition was just .02 in total WAR, second and third place both posted negative dWAR. However, Morales managed to post a 0.00 dWAR for the ’09 season. Runner up Wally Joyner certainly turned in a competitive season, finishing with a total 4.1 WAR and a 13th place MVP finish, even much of the counting stats for Morales are bigger. 34 HR, 43 2B, 3 3B and a fifth place finish in MVP voting. Joyner did lead in RBI and post a much better BB:K rate.
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Never known to be fleet footed, Morales was often talked about as a future DH candidate. Still, his 152 games, all played at first base is worth noting. In 1,368 total chances, Morales made 1,274 put outs and had just eight errors. That defensive work was good enough for a .994 fielding percentage and his 0.00 dWAR. For the record, Joyner had a -.08 dWAR along with 10 errors in fewer games and fewer total chances.
Next: LA Angels best season at catcher: Bob Boone
Unfortunately, it was the first, and thus far last season that Morales achieved such heights. An injury during a game winning celebration at homeplate in 2010 prevented him from repeating his 2009 season. Morales has returned though, playing for the Angels before being traded to the Seattle Mariners. He has since continued with the Kansas City Royals, and Toronto Blue Jays with some success as a DH.
Honorable Mention: Rod Carew 1980 season (1 point), Wally Joyner 1987 season (1 point)