LA Angels player battles: Tim Salmon vs Garret Anderson
Tim Salmon vs Garret Anderson: Salmon was the more productive hitter
Tim Salmon made his debut for the Angels in 1992 and was on a quick, and saw limited time during his initial call-up. However, he was on an upward trajectory starting in 1993 when he won the American League Rookie of the Year award on the back of a season where he hit .283/.382/.536 with 31 home runs and drove in 95. He would finish the season with a strong 4.7 fWAR and a wRC+ of 143.
The momentum continued for Salmon over the next several years. He would place seventh in the AL MVP voting in 1995 and won his only Silver Slugger award that season by putting up career bests in home runs (34), wRC+ (163), and fWAR (5.8). It could be said that Salmon should have finished as high as third or fourth in the voting, a year when Mo Vaughn inexplicably won the award despite significant fWAR differences between him and those that finished behind him (Albert Belle, Edgar Martinez, and Randy Johnson).
Salmon would continue to shine throughout the rest of his Angels tenure, hitting a cumulative .282/.385/.498 for his career, totaling 299 home runs and 1016 RBI. From an advanced metrics standpoint, Salmon owned a career wRC+ of 130, well above the league average of 100, a wOBA of .383, and an fWAR of 35.4.
Alternatively, Garret Anderson ran a very similar path. After a short cup of coffee in 1994, Anderson burst onto the scene in 1995, hitting .321/.352/.505 with 16 home runs and 69 RBI. That was good for a wRC+ of 117 and an fWAR of 2.7. It earned him a second-place nod in the AL Rookie of the Year voting, despite playing 30 fewer games than Marty Cordova of the Twins.
Anderson’s best season came during the World Series campaign in 2002. While Anderson’s best MVP finish would be fourth during the World Series run in 2002 (Miguel Tejada was the winner), his 2003 season was actually his best year. World Series hangover did not impact Anderson, as he put up a career-bests in fWAR (5.1) and wRC+ (129) while hitting.
Overall, Anderson would put up a batting line of .296/.327/.469 with 272 home runs and 1292 RBI as a member of the Angels. Anderson also had an average wRC+ of 102.5 and a lifetime fWAR of 26.4 with Los Angeles. Anderson also gets plus points for leading the team all-time in hits, RBI, runs, and more (for now, thanks to one familiar guy names Mike Trout).