#64 - DON AASE, P
Don was ranked #100 in our initial Top 100 Angels list after the 2005 season and moved up to #74 on our compilation after the 2008 season. As statistical analysis improves (as well as your humble list-compiler here never stops learning about the sport we love), Don reaches new heights in our Countdown!
Don Aase came to the Angels after the 1977 season in exchange for Jerry Remy. For three seasons he was the fourth or fifth starter and his ERA never went below 4.00. Switched to the bullpen and it was a career revival for the 26-year-old righty. He would never have a season with an ERA above four until he was 33.
In the strike-shortened 1981 season he had eleven saves (good enough for sixth in the AL) pitching 65 innings in 39 games, allowing only 17 runs for a 2.34 ERA. He threw 52 innings in 24 games in an injury-shortened 1982. He was great coming back in 1984 after missing the whole 1983 season with an ERA+ of 250 in 39 innings.
In all that chaos he is one of the 21 pitchers to accrue 10 Wins Above Replacement while throwing for the Halos. He tossed 18 complete games, three of which were shutouts. His bullpen greatness balanced out his mediocrity as a starter and he finished his Angels career with a 99 ERA+.
He left the Angels a free agent and pitched great out of the pen for the Orioles for a few seasons, making the 1986 All Star team.
He still holds two firsts. He is listed first alphabetically among all Angels players and he was the first Angels player to ever win a postseason game. Aase was the winning pitcher in the first ever Angels postseason victory. He was the pitcher of record in relief in game three of the best of five 1979 ALCS. The Angels came from behind to win and Don got the W.