The Los Angeles/California/Anaheim Angels have played almost 60 seasons of baseball. As the baseball world is suspended due to circumstances outside its control, it is time to look back at the history of this organization. There have been many talented players to put on the uniform, and we at Crashing the Pearly Gates wish to highlight the best who have ever represented the Angels. Without further ado, here we go!
On October 19th, 2002, the Angels took the field in their first World Series game. Facing the Giants in the most important game in franchise history to that point was Jarrod Washburn, a homegrown lefty coming off a tremendous year in which he would finish fourth in the AL Cy Young voting.
In the Angels’ best year, Washburn was their best starter. His ERA+ that year was 141 over a solid 206 innings. That highlight year and his consistency once he joined the rotation full time as a 26 year old in 2001 earned him his spot on this list.
Jarrod is largely remembered for being durable, but he was also effective. He racked up an average of 187 innings his five years as a full time starter, failing to crack 150 innings in only his 2004 campaign. He also averaged 6 1/3rd innings per start over that stretch at a pace 16% better than league average. In an era of starter to set up guy to closer, Washburn delivered and made bullpen management easy most nights.
As far as his effectiveness, consider this: Washburn’s WHIP (the combined number of walks and hits allowed per inning) an an Angel is 1.275. His teammate Scot Shields, who was named set up man of the decade by numerous publications, has a WHIP of 1.244. Washburn was essentially as effective at limiting base runners as Shields, only over twice as many innings per year.
Washburn left the Angels after the 2005 season but in his time here he put his mark on the franchise leader boards. His career ERA (3.93) as an Angel ranks him just ahead of Mark Langston and Jim Abbott. Jarrod is tied for 17th on the career WAR board for pitchers, just a hair behind Ervin Santana and ahead of Clyde Wright and ranks 8th in winning percentage (.568).
He peaked at the right time and place.
I never realized Washburn’s ERA was as good as it was. Always thought he was in the high-3s, low-4s.
I was pleasantly surprised while researching for this piece. I think Washburn gets remembered as a mid rotation type but he was better than that.
I did meet Washburn once, briefly, at The Catch. He was in town with Seattle and meeting up with Lackey and Napoli after a game. We were all waiting for tables at the bar area. He was very nice. As a result of that night, I have a jacket signed by Lackey, Napoli, and Washburn.
I was surprised too, so I checked baseball reference and it listed his 8 years in Anaheim at a 3.93 era
Yeah. Don’t know where you got that number from, Jeff.
After referencing Scot Shields I inadvertently pulled his ERA instead of Washburn’s. I’ll edit the piece.
Wash did it with smoke and mirrors. His stuff was never all that great, certainly not dominant. What I will say is that he was incredibly competitive and had the heart of a champion. I remember a game I went to in Cleveland in 2003 in which he started. He gutted out 7 or 8 innings but kept the Angels close. They ended up winning late on a two out 3 run HR by GA in the 9th. Wash was the unsung hero of that game.