The LA Angels haven’t made the playoffs in half a decade, but they have an abundance of former players still contending for a World Series ring.
When the playoffs first started, the LA Angels had an MLB-best 15 former players on postseason teams. Now, with only four teams remaining, only six remain. Of those six, however, we’ll be ranking them on how much they mean to their respective teams now.
6.) Fernando Rodney, Washington Nationals
After trading for him midway through the season, the Nationals saw an improved version of Fernando Rodney. However, that new edition of the former Angel was still awful. For the Nationals, calling upon Rodney in a game against the Cardinals in the NLCS would not be a very promising sign of how things are going.
More from Halo Hangout
- New York Post columnist has LA Angels bringing veteran starter back to LA
- Dodgers make wild mistake signing failed LA Angels starter
- Why LA Angels’ Qualifying Offer to Raisel Iglesias could become historical
- Both Gold Glove finalists for LA Angels getting snubbed is a complete joke
- Marcus Stroman definitely appears to be interested in the LA Angels
5.) Howie Kendrick, Washington Nationals
We all saw it. Howie Kendrick, in the top of the tenth inning of Game 5 in the NLDS against the rival Dodgers, sent a ball over the center field wall to drive in not one, not two, not three, but four runs for the Washington Nationals. That home run effectively ended the Dodgers’ season, giving all of us Angels fans a sigh of relief.
That’s what Kendrick means to us, though. To the Nationals, he’s their starting second (or first) baseman and is one of the better hitters on the team. His ability to adjust in an at-bat and get his quick hands around for a swing remain elite, and he’s been great for the team during their run thus far.
4.) Cameron Maybin, New York Yankees
I’ve touched on Cameron Maybin’s comeback season already this year, but that has continued into the postseason. He’s mostly just a pinch-runner and defensive replacement for the talent rich YanKees. However, he has received starts in the postseason and has impressed thus far.
Even more though, Maybin brings an abundance of energy to the clubhouse every single day. Whether it’s him or a teammate succeeding on the diamond, it’s usually hard to find someone celebrating more enthusiastically than Maybin.
3.) Martin Maldonado, Houston Astros
The important of Martin Maldonado to a club is never seen in the box score. While he isn’t awful on the offensive end, his real value comes behind the plate. First off, the defense is absolutely elite. Whether it’s digging a ball, throwing out a base runner, or blocking a wild pitch, Maldonado is as good as it’s gets on the defensive side.
Furthermore, his ability to call a game and understand his pitchers is next level. When he was with the Angels, he was Shohei Ohtani’s primary catcher, and undoubtedly helped contribute to the 3.31 ERA Ohtani earned in his rookie season.
2.) Joe Smith, Houston Astros
While the Houston bullpen isn’t viewed by many as the elite weapon that the Yankees’ is viewed as, Joe Smith being the team’s third option out of the bullpen is a fantastic sign. He has been shutdown in the postseason thus far, and if he continues his dominance then the Astros bullpen immediately goes from good to great.
1.) Zack Greinke, Houston Astros
No former Angel in any playoff team has more significance down the line as Zack Greinke. We all know about the dominance Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander bring the game of baseball. However, you need at least three starters in a postseason series, and if Greinke can perform at an elite level, no other team has a shot at beating the Astros.
However, if Greinke falters like did in the ALDS against the Rays, it gives a team a chance to beat the Astros in a seven game series. While title hopes don’t fall on one player, Greinke has as much swing in the ALCS against the Yankees than any other player left in the playoffs.