When going about choosing an all-time roster for the Los Angeles Angels, some names that come up are very obvious. Others might be chosen based on certain attributes like home runs or defense.
Opinions are subjective, but numbers are objective. Using Baseball Reference WAR (bWAR), we decided to try and see what the real all-time Angels roster would look like. Today we look at the position players.
When looking solely at WAR, you leave out some pretty significant names. A guy like Shohei Ohtani who is obviously an all-time Angel
1. All-time LA Angels starting lineup: Brian Downing, C, 38.0 bWAR
It might be a bit unorthodox to have a catcher leading off, but Brian Downing did come to Anaheim as a catcher, and is a guy who got on base a ton over the course of his Angels career.
The Angels acquired Downing in a trade with the White Sox in the 1977 offseason and used him as their catcher for the first two seasons primarily before phasing him over to left field and DH. Despite being more known for his work as a DH, we're slotting him in behind the plate.
Downing slashed .271/.372/.441 with 222 home runs and 846 RBI across 13 years. He's third in games played, fourth in runs, hits, and home runs while ranking fourth in bWAR among Angels position players. He made an all-star team and received MVP votes three times.
The Angels gave up some pretty decent players to land Downing including Bobby Bonds, but this is obviously one of the best trades made in franchise history.