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No. 88: Greatest Angels of All-Time: Brendan Donnelly

One of the best relievers in franchise history

Yankees v Angels Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Brendan Donnelly

Time with Angels: 2002-2006

Stats: 23-8, 2.87 ERA, 276 G, 295 SO, 154 ERA+, 3.39 FIP, 1.166 WHIP

Awards: All-Star (2003)

Baseball Reference WAR: 7.1

FanGraphs WAR: 5.4

Combined WAR: 6.25


Brendan Donnelly spent the first five seasons of his career with the Angels. His career began in 2002 at the age of 30. During his tenure in Anaheim, he appeared in 276 games, an average of just more than 55 games a year.

Donnelly had a really impressive rookie campaign. He appeared in 46 games, posting a 2.16 ERA. His numbers all across the board were impressive, as he posted an ERA+ of 205, a FIP of 2.58, and a 1.03 WHIP. His damage came against righties, as he held them to a .148 average while having a strikeout-to-walk ratio of nearly four-to-one.

He was dominant to close out the season. Over his final 22 games, Donnelly had a 1.23 ERA while holding opponents to a .189 average. Additionally, he was averaging more than a strikeout per inning.

As if he couldn’t get any better, he did. In 2003, Donnelly posted career-highs all across the board. His ERA was 1.58, his ERA+ was 279, his FIP was 2.38 and his WHIP was 1.07. Donnelly made his first and only All-Star team that season.

Donnelly didn’t allow a run over his first 20 games of the season. Through 42 games by the middle of July, he had only allowed two earned runs. Near the end of July, his ERA was a whopping 0.36, and opponents were hitting only .153 off him.

He’d still be an above-average reliever over his final three seasons with the Angels. Donnelly would appear in a total of 167 games, owning a 3.62 ERA, 122 ERA+, 1.25 WHIP and 4.06 WHIP.

In the 2006 offseason, Donnelly was traded to the Boston Red Sox.

Here’s where Donnelly ranks among pitchers in franchise history to appear in at least 276 games:

  • .742 winning % (1st)
  • 2.87 ERA (2nd)
  • 3.39 FIP (4th)
  • 24.0 strikeout % (4th)
  • 8.6 walk % (3rd)
  • 154 ERA+ (3rd)


Get caught up on the rest of the “All-Time Angels” lists!