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No. 81: Greatest Angels of All-Time: C.J. Wilson

He was a tale of two halves

Minnesota Twins v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images

C.J. Wilson

Time with Angels: 2012-2015

Stats: 51-35, 3.87 ERA, 119 G, 722 13 IP, 622 SO, 96 ERA+, 3.95 FIP, 1.35 WHIP

Baseball Reference WAR: 5.7

FanGraphs WAR: 7.5

Combined WAR: 6.6

After being an All-Star and finishing sixth in Cy Young voting in 2011, the Angels signed C.J. Wilson to a five-year contract. Wilson would only pitch four seasons with the Angels, last pitching in 2015 at the age of 34.

Though he fully didn’t live up to expectations, Wilson was definitely an above average starter while in Anaheim. With the exception of his 2014 season, his three other seasons he had an earned run average of 3.89 or below.

During his first year, Wilson made a league-high 34 starts. He won 13 games, had an ERA of 3.83 and struck out 173 batters, the second most of his career. For Wilson, his 2012 campaign was really a tale of two halves. He was great in the first, as he was named an All-Star. But his second half was terrible, as it cost him what could have been his best season of his career.

Through his first 19 starts, Wilson was 9-5 with a 2.43 earned run average. Opponents were hitting only .202 off of him, and he had 95 strikeouts in 118 innings of work. Through the first portion of the season, he was arguably one of the better pitchers in the American League. Then on July 18, his season took a turn for the worse. Over his final 15 starts, Wilson went 4-5 with an ERA of 5.79. Opponents hit .285 off him with an OPS of .815. Any hopes he had at a Cy Young Award were completely shattered.

He bounced back nicely the following year, having his best season with the Angels and overall one of the best seasons of his career. He went 17-7 with an ERA of 3.39. His 188 strikeouts were the second most he’d have of his career.

2014 would be his worst season with the Angels, and it was his worst season since transitioning into a full time starter. His 10 losses tied a career high, and his 4.51 ERA was the highest it had been since he was a reliever. Through the first 11 games, his season was actually off to a really good start. Entering June, Wilson was 6-4 with a 3.05 ERA. Opponents were hitting .215 off him. From June on, he lost control.

Over his final 20 starts, Wilson had an earned run average of 5.64. Opponents hit .288 off him, and he had nearly as many walks as strikeouts. Just like what had happened a few years prior, it was a tale of two halves for Wilson.

2015 was his final season with the Angels. Injuries cost him to miss a solid amount of time, as he made only 21 starts. He was solid yet again, posting an ERA of below four. Injuries would sideline him in 2016, and he announced his retirement from baseball in 2017.

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