Playoff Reflection: The 2007 Season

As Angels fans, we have more time on our hands than usual with no baseball for the foreseeable future. Why not take a trip down memory lane and reflect on all of the postseason appearances in Angels franchise history?

Today marks the seventh part in a 10-part series documenting every Angels playoff appearance. I’ll go chronologically, going from the first playoff appearance all the way to their most recent appearance. Next up on the list is the 2007 team that kicked off a three-year stretch of pure dominance in the AL West.

PART 1: The 1979 Season

PART 2: The 1982 Season

PART 3: The 1986 Season

PART 4: The 2002 Season

PART 5: The 2004 Season

PART 6: The 2005 Season


After missing the playoffs in 2006, the Angels won 94 games in 2007 and kicked off a three-year stretch of winning the division. During this stretch, they averaged 97 wins and won the division by an average of 12.3 games a year. While this was partially due to the atrocious play of the rest of the division, the Angels also developed an extremely good and sustainable roster. With the 2002 title a half-decade in the rearview mirror, the Angels started to churn out a ridiculous amount of quality players through the system. As a result, the Angels were set to win a lot and play fun baseball over the next three seasons.

Position Players

Photo by: Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register

After a down 2006 season (17 fWAR was 31st in team history), the position players rebounded with a strong 2007 performance. The offense’s resurgence (100 wRC+) helped place the Angels in the top-10 in baseball for fWAR (21.6). The offense’s m.o. followed typical Scioscia small-ball style: lots of contact (4th-best average and strikeout rate), very few homers (fourth fewest), and plenty of stolen bases (third-most). As usual with the small-ball teams, the Angels led baseball with their 55 runners caught stealing. Defensively, the Angels finished as baseball’s 10th-best unit according to Total Zone Runs (13).

Once again, Vladimir Guerrero led the way for the Angels offense with his 143 wRC+ and 27 home runs. Perhaps more impressive was Vlad’s production in the clutch when he posted an absurd 185 wRC+ in high-leverage situations. Despite finishing third in AL MVP voting, Vlad wasn’t even the best or second-best position player according to fWAR. Orlando Cabrera led position players with 4.7 WAR due to his 12.6 Ultimate Zone Rating that earned him a Gold Glove. In just 115 games, Chone Figgins posted 4 WAR thanks to his career-best 122 wRC+ while stealing 41 bags. The club had plenty of depth behind those three players, with seven other Angels ranging between 1.3 to 2.7 WAR. Several of those players were part of the next wave of Angels talent, including Howie Kendrick, Mike Napoli, Maicer Izturis, and Casey Kotchman.

Pitching

Photo by: Brad Mangin

The 2007 Angels staff was one of the best in franchise history. By fWAR, they finished sixth in Angels history (20) and finished 10th in ERA- (94) and tied for fifth in FIP- (93). The Angels were also a top-10 unit in baseball in 2007 by those three measures, finishing behind only the Padres and Indians in WAR. 2007 was a role reversal of sorts, where the rotation drastically outperformed the bullpen.

The Angels rotation was the second-best unit in baseball by fWAR (16.7) and FIP- (92) and fourth in ERA- (94). John Lackey (5 WAR) and Kelvim Escobar (4.8 WAR) were two of the legitimate best pitchers in baseball, giving the Angels a combined 419.2 innings of frontline production. Jered Weaver, in his second season, was above-average in both run prevention (87 ERA-) and peripherals (92 FIP-). Rounding out rotation were two youngsters in Joe Saunders (99 ERA-) and Ervin Santana (128 ERA-). In his last season in Anaheim, Bartolo Colon was a disaster (141 ERA-) in 99.1 innings.

After establishing themselves as one of baseball’s elite units, the Angels bullpen took a big step backward in 2007. By WAR (3.4), ERA- (94), and FIP- (96), the Angels bullpen was a thoroughly mediocre unit. Francisco Rodriguez, firmly established as one of baseball’s best relievers, was the only Angels relievers to stand out (1.9 WAR). Scot Shields (0.8 WAR) regressed from an elite performer to a slightly above-average performer. Justin Speier performed extremely well in the run prevention category (64 ERA-). Darren Oliver, Chris Bootcheck, and Dustin Moseley provided depth behind them.

ALDS vs Boston

Photo by: Adam Hunger/Reuters

Once again, the Angels had a dreadful and forgettable ALDS performance against the Red Sox. After getting swept by Boston in the 2004 ALDS, the Angels experienced the same result in 2007. The Angels were shut out in Game 1, lost on a Manny Ramirez walk-off home run over the Green Monster in Game 2 and lost 9-1 on their home turf in Game 3 in Anaheim. The Angels were outscored 19-4 in the series, posting a lousy .503 OPS while Boston hitters posted a .864 OPS. In all fairness to the Angels, Boston was an absolute force in 2007, winning 96 regular-season games and sweeping two teams in the playoffs, including the Rockies in the World Series.

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YOUknowulovetheIE
Trusted Member
4 years ago

July 1st baseball might start. Hallelujah

Guest
4 years ago

The Angels had a real rivalry with the Red Sox during the oughts because of these playoff battles. At the end of the 2009 season John Lackey became a free agent, and my disappointment in the Angels not being able to re-sign him turned into feelings of outright betrayal when I heard that of all the teams he could have signed with, he chose the hated Red Sox.

On another note, facing Manny Ramirez/David Ortiz back-to-back with the game on the line felt like facing Gehrig/Ruth. There was always a sigh of relief whenever the Angel pitchers could make it past them without a seismic shift in the score occurring.

Rahul Setty
Admin
Trusted Member
4 years ago

Magical era for the Angels. Loved this time, when I truly became a fan.

GrandpaBaseball
Legend
4 years ago

How do you measure success with the Angels? ls it when we have a winning record or make the playoffs or when we get deep in the playoffs or when we make the World Series and win the whole thing? What l know is that disappointment will always be waiting at the end, kinda like you know what awaits but you love being there anyway because we once complete the journey. the first half of the ’80’s was fun while always getting a taste reality followed by years of not even getting to the playoffs but having good teams and thinking now if everyone has a career year then maybe, just maybe. OK then came the nineties and we had good players, just not enough of them. And then the 2000 season happened and we got close except for not enough good pitching, down again in ’01 but then came 2002 and we had a good team that Washburn always came through as did so many of the rejects that we collected. But there was Kennedy and his steady play or our very own scrappy SS that captured our hearts in Eckstein or on any given night one of our cast offs coming through while at the same time no one expecting the miracle that awaited us at the very end and yet each of us surprised by every level that we conquered and ye have to pray and hold our breath until the very end of the run. The euphoria of the journey washed down upon as if we always knew it would someday happen. For this next 12 seasons we believed it would be repeated as we enjoyed the ride even when it abruptly ended early because there always was the “next year” A savior appeared, but even the best player in the universe couldn’t get us to the top and we knew we were destined after the best team in the league piled up win after win in 2014. Having our white horse blazing to the playoffs with our guns blasting and our logic telling us this is the year like that of ’02 something not so funny happened on the way to the expected glory, our clean white hatted sheriff had his horse shot out from under him and he laid sprawled out in the dust of the fasted team in the (mid) west screamed like a nightmare past us as we laid stuned in that dry dust. But recent history told us we’d return the following year as the taste of defeat was never more distasteful in our minds. Hence we have endured only the gang that can’t shoot straight since. A team believing that the map to winning the World Series has been do not pay pitchers big money, why how dare FRod ask for so much money or everyone should think like the young Weaver and sign with us on the cheap. Who needs an experienced GM, or our manager is old school so get rid of him. What a fickle bunch we have all become, starting with Arte and engulfing all of us fans. 200 regulars on this site everyday with frustration foaming from our mouths as we attack each other because we all have different ways of fixing our derailed train. Well don’t worry 2020 will set us straight even with no pitching or we should win it all in 2021 because we have more spending room under the cap. Billy Boy has the 10th pick in the first round and that will be our new white hatted sheriff in town and if not we got ourselves a couple studs down on the farm to carry us through. Our team is getting older now and Mikey has issues of playing almost everyday and Covid-19 will just disappear and we can play in ’20 in stadiums with no one watching, yep that’s the answer alright. But here l sit knowing full well the amount of pain we as Angels’ fans take and that we can and will endure and somehow l think we are forever getting closer to our second World Series title and seeing the players and their big World Series rings again will all arrive very soon. Hope springs enteral in the hearts of all Angels fans and we forever will be by the players sides in trying to achieve our goal to be winners of the whole tamale once again.