There are a handful of Angels teams that were really good but came up short of the playoffs, and some that should have been way better than they were. When discussing the former I point immediately to the 1989 squad that went 91-71 but still finished third in a pre-Wildcard/seven team AL West. When it comes to the latter, the 1993 club is one that always comes to mind. There was a great mix of key veterans and young talent from what was becoming a minor league system on the rise. Major injuries and growing pains from the Halos youth took their toll, however. And the result was a 71-91 record.
But what about the players the Angels let go in the previous three years leading up to that? How much would just holding onto that youth have helped the Halos compete better? The franchise was finally starting from scratch and building through their farm system, an approach that helped lead the team to a championship a decade later. But could they have done even better than through the rest of the nineteen nineties if they just confused the rebuild without trying to contend?
After all, the Angels came very close to making the playoffs in 1995, 1997, and 1998. They could’ve used the young players they gave away earlier in that decade.
Derek Bain recently posted a very interesting article at FanGraphs about a section is book, Hardball Retrospective, on the 1993 Halos and what the team might have done if the club had kept the young players they gave away.
Here it is…
— HardballRetrospctive (@HardballRetrosp) February 18, 2017