CATCHER: MIKE NAPOLI, TEXAS RANGERS (.442 batting average, 6 HR, 16 RBI, 1.471 OPS)
This doesn't come as much of a surprise. Napoli has two reasons to tear up the Angels at will: first, he knows most of the staff and how to beat them. Two, he has an open dislike for the Angels after how management treated him. Put those two together, plus his full realized potential, and you get the Rangers' starting catcher putting up a nasty slash line of .442/.567/.904 against the Angels this season in 17 games. For comparison, consider this: Against only three other teams did Napoli post higher than a .300 average this season: Boston, Baltimore, and Colorado, against which he played a combined 11 games. In contrast, he batted under .200 against ELEVEN teams this season, and Napoli played in more than 17 games against only one of them (Oakland). Let's face it. The dude is scary against us, and many of us Angels fans hope and pray a National League team signs him.
FIRST BASE: MARK TEIXEIRA, NEW YORK YANKEES (.281 batting average, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 1.066 OPS
Yes, there are some first basemen who had better numbers against the Angels in one area or another. Teixeira, however, was the most consistently destructive first baseman against our Halos this season. The Angels had plenty of games they could've won against New York--five, in fact--and didn't. Teixeira played a role in the Angels' defeat every single time. The man we not-so-affectionately refer to as U-Haul, for deserting the team after putting up his best-ever numbers with the Angels across 54 games, is one of those guys I did give extra credit to for being so hated amongst educated Angels fans. Some would say it isn't his fault, though--I mean, when wifey cracks the whip, all that can run through your mind is, "If she ain't happy, NOBODY'S happy."
HONORABLE MENTION: Paul Konerko (CWS), Brandon Moss (OAK)
SECOND BASE: DUSTIN PEDROIA, BOSTON RED SOX (.360 batting average, 6 RBI, .989 OPS)
Ratface isn't exactly the first guy that came to mind for me when it came to second basemen that can tear up the Angels. Several names actually entered my mind first, and I even went and double-checked Baseball Reference for even more second basemen just to be sure Pedroia was actually most deserving to be on this list. However, no other second baseman with at least six games played against the Angels eclipsed Pedroia's .360 average or .989 OPS--which is funny, seeing as the Angels tore up the Red Sox all year long. I guess Pedroia was the lone exception on a royal band of misfits that the Angels absolutely thrashed otherwise. He's never truly been LIKED amongst Angels fans; I'm sure several people could tell you several different reasons why. However, as the numbers have it...Ratface is the anti-Angel second baseman.
THIRD BASE: KEVIN YOUKILIS, CHICAGO WHITE SOX (.300 batting average, 3 HR, 1.212 OPS)
Once again, the name that does NOT first come to my mind is the name that was the Angel killer, in my humble opinion. He did all his damage to the Angels AFTER his trade to Chicago, and did it in less games than several other AL third basemen. Some of the bigger names I expected to be placing on this list--Miguel Cabrera, Evan Longoria, Mark Reynolds--actually were far LESS successful against the Angels than against the rest of the league. Youk's also long been derided by Halo fans for his unmistakably Little League-esque batting stance and conceited demeanor (and, like with Ratface, several other reasons that several other Angels fans may have individually).
SHORTSTOP: YUNEL ESCOBAR, TORONTO BLUE JAYS (.407 batting average, 6 RBI, 1.021 OPS)
Once again, another surprising name here. Not among the usual suspects--but as we discovered this season, Angels aren't the only thing Yunel opposes vehemently on the field. I was surprised to see that he tore the team up on the field beyond simply getting on base--and in just seven games. Imagine him on Texas, playing 19 games against us. That's right--against the Angels, Escobar outproduced Elvis Andrus, another notorious Angel killer. Yunel will likely be shopped by the Jays, who've since acquired Mike Aviles as compensation for John Farrell. As is the case with Napoli, let's also hope Escobar finds his way back to the National League...away from consistent play against the Angels.
HONORABLE MENTION: Elvis Andrus (TEX), Derek Jeter (NYY)
LEFT FIELD: JOSH WILLINGHAM, MINNESOTA TWINS (.379 batting average, 4 HR, 6 RBI, 1.281 OPS)
This wasn't even a contest once you take a look at the stats. Willingham was far and away the most prolific anti-Angel left fielder in all of baseball, and nobody else came close. Only one other left fielder in all of the American League with consistent play posted anything REMOTELY close to Willingham's numbers, and I listed him as the honorable mention. All of Minnesota's play against the Angels was done by the middle of May--during those six encompassing weeks Willingham was at his hottest baseball. The Angels, sadly, during their Astros-like level of play, were among Willingham's victims.
HONORABLE MENTION: David Murphy (TEX)
CENTER FIELD: BJ UPTON, TAMPA BAY RAYS (.314 batting average, 3 HR, 7 RBI, .971 OPS)
Surprising, although not that much. The Angels went 1-9 against Tampa Bay this year, due to a flailing bullpen, an offense that habitually crumbled under pressure, and starting pitching that was only good once it didn't matter. Upton was a large reason that the Rays tore into the Angels this year. He and just about every other starter had at least ONE good game out of the ten played this season. Heck, Brandon Allen had one plate appearance all year against the Angels and he turned a walkoff homer out of it. These Rays just ate the Angels up, and Upton was no exception. His .971 OPS was his second-highest against any AL opponent, second only to the Texas Rangers, against whom he had a staggering, sexy and stunning 1.304 OPS (gives some weight to signing Upton, doesn't it?). But alas, no room for Upton in Anaheim. Like Napoli, Upton is a free agent as well, so one can only hope he, too, finds a niche in the National League, away from Anaheim.
HONORABLE MENTION: Curtis Granderson (NYY)
RIGHT FIELD: NELSON CRUZ, TEXAS RANGERS (.347 batting average, 8 HR, 20 RBI, 1.165 OPS)
The first right fielder that came to my mind was the one who inflicted the most damage. Cruz may be a two-time World Series goat, but he sure knows how to absolutely shred Angels pitching, regardless of venue. Just think about this: Cruz hit ONE THIRD of his home runs against US, against ONE TEAM. His tOPS+ (a player's OPS+ against one team relative to his overall OPS+) was 193, his second-highest against any team, behind only his 194 against the Red Sox, against whom he played 8 games, compared to his 19 against the Angels. And this isn't just a thing with division rivals. Cruz absolutely crapped the bed against Oakland and Seattle, with OPS totals of .618 and .579 against them, respectively. He feasts on the Angels, and unfortunately, he's not going anywhere. He's one constant thorn in the side we'll ALWAYS have to joyfully look forward to. The one glimmer of hope is that after 2013, he IS a free agent, although the Rangers may look to lock him up a little more optimistically than Josh Hamilton.
DESIGNATED HITTER: JOHN JASO, SEATTLE MARINERS (.300 batting average, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 11 BB, .966 OPS)
Fitting that with the Mariners being a constant spoiler, this guy was the spoiler of the spoiler. Jaso was a pain in the neck every time he came up, getting a hit, working a walk, doing whatever necessary to absolutely be a pest to Angels pitching. He did everything. Got on base, got guys OFF the bases, scored runs, drove in runs, he was just a MACHINE against Angels pitching. This isn't just a recent trend; even as a member of the Rays, he was always an anti-Angel, but this year was much more magnified, as he had more opportunities being within the division, and he capitalized. His DH/catcher platoon, Jesus Montero, was equally as damaging, although most of his at-bats against the Angels, if I'm not mistaken, came from behind the plate, and if he wasn't facing Jered Weaver, he was often quelled. Jaso, on the other hand, could tee off on anyone he pleased, and he certainly was a driving force behind the Mariners being September spoilers.
HONORABLE MENTION: Raul Ibanez (NYY)
STARTING PITCHER: MAX SCHERZER, DETROIT TIGERS (2-0, 1.64 ERA, 27 K, .158 BAA, 11 K/9)
Let's face it: Scherzer found himself this year. His 3.73 ERA this season might suggest he has more finding to do--but not against the Angels. He straight up SLAYED us this season, absolutely had the Angels' number. Save for one no-decision against the team, Scherzer was otherwise a force, allowing just 12 hits across 22 innings pitched, a 0.818 WHIP and allowing just four runs to cross the plate TOTAL. That, and the Tigers always seemed to face the team in the midst of a struggle. Scherzer played to that vulnerability like Jimmy Page to a guitar, either prolonging the team's woes or starting them every time he took the mound against us. He's locked down until 2015, and even with the balanced schedule ensuring we see less of him, he's still there to exploit every weakness.
RELIEF PITCHER: KOJI UEHARA, TEXAS RANGERS (0.00 ERA, 8 K, 6 IP, 0.667 WHIP)
You can't look only at closers here. Don't get me wrong, I looked at quite a few closers, and many were extremely dominant against the Angels--but in very small sample sizes, even for relievers. Jim Johnson, for example, did particularly well against the Angels...in facing them only twice this year. It makes sense that the anti-Angel reliever comes from Texas, seeing as their bullpen caused us almost as much trouble as our own bullpen this season. Heck, I was tempted to make one of our own guys the anti-Angel reliever, but that's just too tasteless. Koji shut the Angels' offense down, regardless of a winning, tied or losing situation. He mopped up, held leads, even finished a couple of games. Never surrendered a run, allowed just four baserunners--TOTAL. Hard to get more dominant than that, with consistent play.
This season's anti-Angels, everyone. One interesting note--we often regard Bruce Chen as a notorious all-time anti-Angel; however, this season the Angels got to him. Maybe his reign of terror over the lineup is over? He posted an ERA over 4 against the team this season and never recorded a decision against us. Maybe someone else--Scherzer, Hellickson, Iwakuma, Alvarez--takes his place? Maybe one of the 2012 anti-Angels listed will become an all-time anti-Angel? Who knows. Let's hope NOT--but regardless, these are the men who make the heavens cry.