The Best of the Best

Back on March 16 I posted an article about the best managers in the history of the Angels minor leagues. The numbers in the article were based on data I’ve entered in the Database, currently under construction on the web site.

Now let’s take a look at the best teams in the history of the Angels minor leagues.

Using the same data, I looked up the top ten teams by winning percentage. They are:

  1. 2003 Provo Angels 54-22 .711
  2. 1990 Boise Hawks 53-23 .697
  3. 2001 Provo Angels 53-23 .697
  4. 2008 Tempe Angels 39-17 .696
  5. 2008 Orem Owlz 52-23 .693
  6. 1970 Hawaii Islanders 98-48 .671
  7. 1997 Boise Hawks 51-25 .671
  8. 1992 Quad Cities River Bandits 91-46 .664
  9. 1991 Boise Hawks 50-26 .658
  10. 1984 Redwood Pioneers 91-48 .655

It should come as no surprise that seven of those ten teams were managed by Tom Kotchman, who as noted in the March 16 article is the winningest manager in Angels minor league history.

But we’re mixing short-season and full-season teams here. Over the course of a longer season, winning percentages should drift to the less extreme.

So let’s see what happens when we query for only teams that played over 100 games:

  1. 1970 Hawaii Islanders 98-48 .671
  2. 1992 Quad Cities River Bandits 91-46 .664
  3. 1984 Redwood Pioneers 91-48 .655
  4. 1976 Salinas Angels 91-49 .650
  5. 1976 Salt Lake City Gulls 90-54 .625
  6. 1975 Quad Cities Angels 78-47 .624
  7. 1967 San Jose Bees 86-52 .623
  8. 1961 Statesville Owls 63-39 .618
  9. 1986 Palm Springs Angels 87-55 .613
  10. 1977 El Paso Diablos 78-52 .600 & 1978 Salinas Angels 84-56 .600

The 1970 Hawaii Islanders were the Angels’ affiliate in the Pacific Coast League (the same league as today’s Salt Lake Bees).

The Islanders’ Winston Llenas was second in the PCL in batting average at .339. Doug Griffin was #6 at .326. (Future Dodger and Angel Bobby Valentine led the PCL with a .340 average.) Hawaii was second in the league in homers with 136; Llenas hit 20, Chuck Vinson hit 22, a Richard Barry hit 18, Wayne Redmond hit 17, James Hicks and John Werhas added 12 each.

Most of those guys saw little to no major league time.

Llenas was a 26-year old middle infielder who saw brief time in Anaheim during the 1968 and 1969 seasons. He returned for 1972-1975, where he did mostly pinch-hit duty. His major league career AVG/OBP/SLG were .230/.277/.279.

Griffin reached Anaheim at the end of the 1970 season. He was part of a big trade that October with the Red Sox. Griffin, Jarvis Tatum and Ken Tatum went to Boston for Tony Conigliaro, Jerry Moses and Ray Jarvis. Conigliaro would retire mid-season in 1971 as his eyesight worsened. Griffin stuck with the Red Sox through 1977, mostly as a light-hitting second-baseman. His major league numbers were .245/.299/.299.

Vinson played with the Angels for 13 games in 1966, but never reached the majors again. He was 26 during that 1970 season.

No Islander was among the top ten in PCL ERA. Left-hander Dennis Bennett was 18-8 with a 4.50 ERA. In 200 innings, he struck out 145 and walked 44. Right-hander Tom Bradley was 11-1 with a 2.53 ERA in 114 innings. Righty Archie Reynolds was 7-3 with a 2.62 ERA in 103 IP. Washburn — Greg, not Jarrod — was 8-8 with a 4.63 ERA in 140 IP.

Hawaii had one reliever who went on to some success in the majors. Southpaw Dave LaRoche had a 1.24 ERA in 58 innings, striking out 67 while walking 19. The Islanders also had legendary submariner Roy Face at the end of his career; he posted a 4.50 ERA in only 10 innings of work.

When we next visit the database … The all-time worst teams.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s