The saddest words of tongue or pen are not tragedy, but “What might have been...”
Casey Kotchman was the Angels’ first round pick in the 2001 draft. He made his major league debut after a dramatic baserunning injury to Darin Erstad in 2004, called up from AA Arkansas to join the team on a Sunday afternoon. He had been a batboy to Garret Anderson in the minors where his father, Tom Kotchman was a coach. To some Angel fans he had “Heir Apparent” written all over him, to others he was the ultimate trade bait. A tragic bout with mononucleosis curtailed his 2006 season after Kotch replaced Steve Finley in the final game of the ALCS, Mike Scioscia’s admission that something had gone dreadfully wrong with the promising season and its name was Post-steroids Stevie.
Finally, in 2007, he had a very good season for the Angels, batting .296 and slugging .467 while playing stellar defense, helping the Angels to a division title. He was putting together a good 2008 campaign when he was made the centerpiece of the Mark Teixeira trade.
Casey Kotchman was a role-player on two division winners and a central part of the 2007 AL West champion Angels. His absence from the 2006 Angels was central to that squad losing the division by 4 games. Even though he only made 1200+ Plate Appearances as an Angel, he is good enough to have become a Top 100 Angel.