#53 - FRED LYNN, OF
Of all Angels batters, Fred Lynn is tied with Tim Salmon for the second greatest OPS+ by an Angels player with more than 1,500 Plate Appearances. He had a 128 OPS+ over his Angels career. Only Vladimir Guerrero was better and once Mike Trout has more than 1,500 PA he will be ahead of Fred... but why then is Lynn ranked only 54th on this countdown? Well, Tim Salmon had that OPS+ in over 7,000 Plate Appearances with the club. As great as Fred was, he wasn't always around. His mark was set in his 1,947 PA.
Fred Lynn was an Angel for four seasons. Four seasons is 648 games. Fred played in 473. The team missed 52 games because of the 1981 players' strike but even with that factored in Fred missed almost 125 games with various tweaks, sprains, aches ad pains. It was his oft-injured status that pushed the Boston Red Sox to trade him and pitcher Steve Renko to the Angels after the 1980 season for Frank Tanana, Joe Rudi and Jim Dorsey.
He had won Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player in 1975 so he came with extreme glamor. When the Angels acquired him in 1981 he was the third one-time MVP on the team - along with Don Baylor and Rod Carew. Reggie Jackson would be the fourth when he signed as a free agent before the 1982 season.
Fred had a down 1981, as did many players with the rhythm of baseball being broken with that large summer break. He bounced back for a monster 1982 season. He hit 38 doubles, 21 HR and had an .891 OPS (On Base Percentage Plus Slugging Percentage). His 4.7 Offensive WAR that year is in the franchise's top 30. Fred's 142 OPS+ that year ranks 22nd best of any Angels season.
He dominated in the 1982 playoffs, winning the ALCS MVP. Wait a minute... a player from the losing team won the award? Yes - Fred is the only player in baseball history to win a playoff MVP and be on the losing team. Nothing underscores more how the Angels choked away that series in that there was no standout Brewers player to deserve the award.
As an Angel he hit the only grand slam in All Star Game history - he did it in the 1983 game and won the game's MVP that year. This time at least his American League team won the game.
There were lots of highlights, good defense and big hits in Fred Lynn's Angels career, but there were not enough Plate Appearances for him to make it into the Top 50. But he won't be going off the Top 100 list for at least a few more decades.