2011 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
2011 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim / Franchise: Los Angeles Angels / BR Team Page
Managed by Mike Scioscia
The 2011 Angels were a big surprise, remaining in contention for a wild-card spot until nearly the last game of the season. They finished second in the division with a record of 86-76, after having gone 80-82 the previous season.
The team played better during the first half than during the second half of the season. They were in first place on July 5, but thereafter spent the rest of the time in second place. While they played .630 ball in July, for August and September they were only one game over .500.
The park factor was 93, so the pitchers had an edge over the hitters. The team hit .253, five points below the league average, and slugged .402, six points under the league average. The team ERA was 3.57, nominally the best in the league, although the ERA+, which takes park factor into account, put them at fourth in the league.
Star Kendry Morales was expected to come back for 2011, but due to his 2010 injury he was unable to. His OPS+ of 129 in 2010 was better than any 2011 regular was able to do. In 2011, the top OPS+ (a measure of overall hitting ability) belonged to second baseman Howie Kendrick. Kendrick, at age 27, had his best year so far in the majors, slugging .464 and getting named to the All-Star Game. However, his first half was stronger than his second half and he especially slumped in September.
Several rookies were surprises, and contributed considerably to the team. Mark Trumbo, taking over at first for Morales, hit 29 home runs and led the team in RBI, although his on-base percentage was only .291. Jordan Walden, who had appeared briefly in 2010, stepped in as the closer and notched 32 saves, although he also blew 10 saves. Tyler Chatwood, at age 21, was called upon for 25 starts, and while he only went 6-11, presumably has a strong future. The most storied rookie was Mike Trout, at only age 19, who got 135 plate appearances, mostly when Peter Bourjos was injured. Trout, although the youngest player in the league, showed much promise with a .390 slugging percentage and top defensive ability.
Bourjos was a rookie last year, hitting only .204, but in 2011 he performed well, hitting .271 and slugging .438. He tied for the league lead in triples. Hank Conger, 23, has some learning to do with respect to catching, but as a hitter showed promise with a .356 slugging percentage although his batting average was only .209.
The highly-paid star Vernon Wells started extremely slowly, but eventually showed power and ended up with 25 home runs. However, his .248 on-base percentage dropped jaws, especially given his high salary. Veteran Bobby Abreu, at age 37, led the team in walks and added 30 doubles along with 21 stolen bases. Torii Hunter, at age 35, started very slowly, but ended with 23 home runs and 82 RBI.
Alberto Callaspo, who was a welcome surprise last year, led the regulars with a .288 batting average and a .366 on-base percentage. Erick Aybar, who struggled last year, improved in 2011 to a .279 batting average with a .421 slugging percentage, and led the team with 30 steals. Catcher Jeff Mathis hit only .174, and it was especially noted because the team had let catcher Mike Napoli go during the off-season and in 2011 Napoli, for rival Texas, had a career year.
Pitcher Jered Weaver had a Cy Young Award-quality season, going 18-8 with an ERA of 2.41. Dan Haren was 16-10, but none of the other three starters was over .500. Among relievers other than Walden, Scott Downs was noteworthy for his 1.34 ERA, while 36-year-old Hisanori Takahashi appeared in 61 games with an ERA of 3.44.
Other than Walden, the youngest pitcher on the staff was promising rookie Garrett Richards, who through 2011 is 27-8 in the minors. He appeared in 7 games with the Angels.
Manager Mike Scioscia was in his twelfth year as Angels manager, and this year was somewhat below his career winning percentage of .548. He has never finished worse than third.
Even as the season ended, rumors swirled about a number of changes the Angels might make. Their combination of ageing veterans and promising rookies leads to a situation where they might choose quite a few moves to make.
Awards and Honors
- All-Stars: Howie Kendrick, Jordan Walden and Jered Weaver
- AL Gold Glove: Erick Aybar (SS)
- 2011 Topps All-Star Rookie Team: Mark Trumbo (1B)