Time with Angels: 2005-2010
Stats: 54-32, 4.29 ERA, 692 IP, 392 SO, 102 ERA+, 4.63 FIP, 1.392 WHIP
Baseball Reference WAR: 7.0
FanGraphs WAR: 6.1
Combined WAR: 6.55
Joe Saunders began his big-league career with the Angels back in 2005, appearing in only two games. His first real chance came as a starter in 2006. Over the course of his career in Anaheim, Saunders appeared in 115 games, starting all 115 of them.
Through his first two full seasons, Saunders started 31 games. He went 15-8 and posted a 4.55 ERA. The following year in 2008 was when he finally blossomed into a great starter for the Angels.
After making 31 starts the previous two years, Saunders made 31 starts in 2008. He went 17-7 with an ERA of 3.41. Saunders threw 198 innings while striking out 103 batters. His ERA+ of 131 was a career-high, along with his 3.41 ERA. Saunders was named an All-Star that year, the only time he’d be one during his career.
Through the first month of the season, Saunders went 5-0 through his first six starts. He had an ERA of 2.08 and held opponents to an average of only .204.
2009 would be Saunders’ final full season with the Angels. For the second year in a row he made 31 starts. He went 16-7, but his ERA was up an entire run as it sat at 4.60. Saunders threw 186 innings, posting a 5.17 FIP, 1.43 WHIP while striking out 101.
Saunders pitched 20 games for the Angels in 2010, but was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks during the season.