#12 - TROY GLAUS, 3B
Perhaps the only good thing to come out of the terrible 79-91 1996 Anaheim Angels season was the third pick in the June, 1997 draft. They chose Troy Glaus out of UCLA. Thirteen months later he made his major league debut for the team, appearing in 48 games, all at the hot corner. He played a full season the next year, putting up an almost-league average OPS+ of 98 in 154 games and survived the purge and negativity that was the 1999 Angels season from hell.
Then, just when fans were getting grumbly that this "can't miss" prospect was maybe not up to the hype he had come with, well... he put together three great seasons, capped off with winning the World Series MVP in 2002.
In 2000 he set the franchise record from most home runs in an Angels season with 47 bombs. His OPS was 1.008 that year, the second best mark in team history for On Base + Slugging Percentage. The power boost season was outshined just a tad by Darin Erstad having an even greater season - imagine how terrible the pitching was on the Halos when they got 8.3 Wins Above Replacement by Darin Erstad and 7.8 WAR by Glaus and finished third in the AL West at 82-80.
He followed that up by "only" hitting 41 HR in 2001, scoring 11 runs, hitting 38 doubles and raching an OPS+ of 133 with an OPS of .898 with 81 Extra Base Hits and 107 Walks each rank as the fourth most in an Angels single season ever.
Of course everyone remembers 2002 but it was a year with less production, although fans of the RBI like Mike Scioscia wouldn't know it with his career best 111 RBI that year, he still had 142 hits, 99 runs scored and 30 homers, but his walks were down to 88... there have been many seasons where NO Angels player had that many walks and here it is the down year of three for Glaus. His 30th homer of the season was a grand slam on the final day of the year that sailed over my head in my seats next to the Batter's Eye in Right-Center Field. I t capped a grat year by the team and was the 99th win of the season.
But there would be eleven more victories. Glaus was integral to many of them. He hit three solo homers in the ALDS against the Yankees and batted .316 with a homer against the Twins. In the World Series he hit a home run in his first series at bat in Game One. All the announcers could do was talk about how amazing it was that Barry Bonds had accomplished that feat... but Glaus would have the last laugh. His two-run Game Six double with the Angels down 5-4 in the bottom of the eighth inning was, statistically speaking, a bigger hit than Scott Spiezio's three-run home run an inning earlier. Glaus would go on to earn the MVP of the Series that saw him hit three home runs, drive in eight runs, and score seven runs.
In 2003 and 2004, injuries took their toll on him and he appeared in only 91 games and was in even fewer (58) in 2004. But he contributed greatly when he was in the lineup with averages in line with his career totals. He just could not seem to play hurt. In the forgettable 2004 ALDS,a three-game sweep by the Chowds of Bahstin, Glaus showed up with a .364 average and a 1.552 OPS with twelve total bases in the three games. A small consolation for being swept but a reminder that when Troy was hit he was red hot.
But when he was cold, he was ice cold and his slumps included copious strikeouts. His 784 Ks rank fifth most in club history and his four full seasons with the Halos, 1999-2002, each rank in the top ten single season strikeout leaders for the team with his 163 Ks in 2000 ranking the third most ever by an Angels batter in one season.
His positive achievements, though, are what might be called "Monstramental" (a word he once used in a postgame interview after having hit a towering home run) in Angels lore. His 470 walks are the sixth most by an Angel and he is the only Angel with more than 400 walks in less than 3,500 Plate Appearances. His OPS+ of 120 ranks tenth all time, which says a lot considering his high strikeout totals. He is third all time in extra base hits, fourth in home runs with 182, first in At Bats per HR - as an Angel, Troy averaged a homer once for every 16.3 AB.
Oh and he was alright at the hot corner. After the Doug DeCinces era the Angels had an underwhelming presence at 3B - Spike Owen, Dave Hollins and the terrible Gary Gaetti experiment were just a few. Glaus was a rock at a difficult position for over 150 games in four solid seasons. But back to that bat - Glaus is in the franchise top ten with his 22.6 Wins Above Replacement and his 21.3 Offensive WAR. His Slugging (.497) and OPS (.854) each rank fourth but if he is only remembered for one sixteen game stretch in October of 2002 he will always rank highly in the history of our favorite club.