The best Angels WAR season by a first baseman in franchise history

His Angels tenure was a disappointment, but at least Albert Pujols has this.
Los Angeles Angels v Seattle Mariners
Los Angeles Angels v Seattle Mariners / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

The first base position is one that usually doesn't rack up a ton of WAR (wins above replacement) mainly because the defense at the position isn't considered to be very valuable. Other premium positions like shortstop and center field rack up a ton of defensive WAR but first base is among the least valuable. This means offense has to carry a first baseman to a high WAR season.

Some of the best players in Los Angeles Angels franchise history played first base. Darin Erstad is an Angels legend who is known more for his time in the outfield, but he did play some first base. Rod Carew is an all-time great who played first base for the Angels to finish off his Hall of Fame career. Even Wally Joyner had some great years in an Angels uniform including a great postseason in 1986.

Albert Pujols often isn't mentioned as one of the best first basemen in Angels history, and a big reason for that is because he simply didn't meet expectations in Anaheim. He joined the team as an MVP-caliber player and never came close to being as productive as he was in St. Louis. While that fact is undeniable, Pujols had some great years in Anaheim including the best WAR season for a first baseman.

The best LA Angels WAR season from a first baseman belongs to Albert Pujols in 2012

The Angels signed Pujols to his massive ten-year deal following the 2011 season. He had a bit of a down year in the regular season but was still good enough to put up a .906 OPS and finish in the top five in NL MVP balloting. He finished the year off with a terrific postseason performance and helped lead the Cardinals to a World Series victory. The Angels were gettin the best hitter in baseball at age 31 to try and win themselves.

While Pujols had his worst regular season yet in his first year with the Angels, his numbers were still quite good. He slashed .285/.343/.516 with 30 home runs and 105 RBI. He helped lead the Angels to an 89-win season, but unfortunately that wasn't good enough to make the postseason. His 4.8 bWAR wasn't anything special for him, but it was the best mark an Angels first baseman has ever had.

Most of Pujols' WAR came from his bat. In fact, his defense was worth -0.1 dWAR as he wasn't ever great defensively as an Angel. He still had a 138 OPS+ and finished 17th in the AL MVP balloting. It wasn't quite the Pujols Angels fans were expecting, but he was still really good.

That first year was the high-water mark for Pujols as an Angel in the WAR category as he only had above 2.0 bWAR in two other years. He was worth 3.9 bWAR in 2014 and 3.0 bWAR in 2015. That's it.

Pujols' Angels tenure was obviously a major disappointment, but he's still among the best first basemen in the history of this franchise. He has longevity with the franchise and had some really nice years, even if they weren't quite MVP-caliber.