The Los Angeles Angels made a trade with the Phillies sending Brandon Marsh to Philadelphia in exchange for Logan O'Hoppe. O'Hoppe is the Angels' top prospect and is their catcher of the future as of now. The hope is he makes the Opening Day roster and starts most of the games behind the plate.
If O'Hoppe is who he's projected to be, he might end up being the greatest catcher in Angels' history. The Halos haven't had much in regard to great catchers but there are some memorable names to reminisce about.
Yesterday we looked at the greatest pitchers in Angels history. Today we look at their battery mates. Who do you think the five best catchers are in Angels history?
5) Best catchers in Angels history: Brian Downing
Brian Downing is a hard player to rank. He spent 13 of his 20 seasons as an Angel but he only had two seasons being a full-time catcher with another two seeing him play part-time at the position. He then was moved to the outfield. I will only be taking his catcher stats into account, he's obviously one of the greatest players in Angels' history.
Downing began his career with the White Sox but was traded to the Angels prior to the 1978 season. He was a pretty solid catcher who developed into a much better player with the Angels.
His first year wasn't anything special but he really blossomed into something special in the 1979 campaign. That season he slashed .326/.418/.462 with 12 home runs and 75 RBI. He had a 142 OPS+, was an all-star, and finished 14th in the AL MVP balloting.
That season he had a 5.6 bWAR which is unbelievable for a catcher especially. He caught 129 games that season and had one of the best seasons an Angels catcher has ever had.
The following couple of seasons he dealt with injury and saw more time in the outfield. He ended up being a full-time left fielder and DH by the 1982 campaign, and that's where his power really started to show. He's one of the best players in Angels' history.
Downing's 1979 campaign is the biggest reason he's on this list. Someone like Lance Parrish or even Jeff Mathis for his defense could be added here, but I went with Downing.