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Geoff Zahn - Top 100 Angels #63

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The early 1980s almost-ace.

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Zahn.
Zahn.
TOPPS

#63 - GEOFF ZAHN, P

In our post-2005 Top 100 Angels countdown, Geoff ranked #45 (LINK) and after 2008 we ranked him #52. In our 2011 book Top 50 Angels In the First Fifty Seasons (LINK) Geoff ranked 40th all time.

Geoff Zahn's star shined brightest in 1982, where he pasted together an above average season to lead the Angels to their second ever division title. He had a 3.73 ERA over 34 starts that included twelve complete games and four shutouts. He had even better campaigns in 1983 and 1984, where he pitched 203 and 199 innings with an ERA+ of 122 and 129 and a WAR of 4.2 and 4.0 respectively (Bartolo Colon's 2005 Cy Young season was a 4.0 WAR year for comparison). He was by then 38 and injuries took their toll.

But the journeyman signing had worked - the Angels picked him up as a free agent after the 1980 season and got over 10 WAR in 830 IP. Zahn's 3.64 ERA ranks fifteenth best for an Angels pitcher with over 400 IP. His BB/9 ranks ninth at 2.396 walks surrendered per nine innings pitched. His 121 Games Started still ranks in the franchise top 20 and his 42 Complete Games ranks seventh - he was a throwback to an older time when a pitcher took responsibility for the mound when he got up there. His 13 shutouts ranks sixth in franchise history.

Would the Angels have made the playoffs without Zahn? Doubtful. Mike Witt was the best pitcher on the team that year but he started ten fewer games than Zahn. The next two seasons he was undoubtedly better, but the team wasn't.