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Saturday, February 4, 2017

Mike Trout and Albert Pujols draw Angels fans, despite few wins.

Mike Trout and Albert Pujols both started playing for the Angels in 2012, Trout as a 20 year old rookie and Pujols as a 32 year old, who had been MVP three times as a Cardinal. Pujols signed with the Angels as a free agent.

201232Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim$12,000,00011.000contracts
201333Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim$16,000,00012.000contracts
201434Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim$23,000,00013.000contracts
201535Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim$24,000,00014.000contracts
201636Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim$25,000,00015.000contracts
201737Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim$26,000,00016.000
201838Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim$27,000,000
201939Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim$28,000,000
202040Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim$29,000,000
202141Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim$30,000,00010-year, $10M personal-services contract begins once player contract expires
Earliest Free Agent: 2022
Pujols Plate Appearances and OPS+ with the Angels:
2012 670 138
2013 443 116
2014 695 126
2015 661 118 (40 home runs)
2016 650 114

Cardinals 170
Angels 123

Nobody expected Pujols to be as good with the Angels as he had been with the Cardinals. Nor did anyone expect Pujols to come anywhere near being worth as a player what he will be paid in the final years of his huge contract.

There were two dynamics:
1. Sign a huge well known star to appeal to the Angels indigenous fan base in southern California.
2. Let somebody else worry about those final years of the contract. The owner may be gone and the general manager is already gone.

The bonus was that Mike Trout joined the Angels the same year as Pujols and Trout was the second coming of Mickey Mantle. Trout's MVP finishes: 2, 2, 1, 2, 1.


Do the Cardinals Deserve a Competitive-Balance Pick?
by Craig Edwards - February 2, 2017 fangraphs.com

That article contains an attendance chart for years 2012-2016, which is what prompted me to associate the chart with Pujols and Trout.

The teams leading in average attendance 2012-2016:
Red Sox

Note that with Pujols and Trout the Angels are between the Yankees and Red Sox with the fifth best attendance.

In 2002 the Angels surprisingly won the championship, their only since inception in 1961. Since 2002, the Angels have drawn at least three million fans every season. In 2003 the Angels dropped from 99 wins to 77, less than half their 162 games: 81.

But then the Angels won their division in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009. Then in 2010, 2011 the Angels finished 3, 2 with 80 and 86 wins. Attendance might have started slip, so they signed Pujols and had Trout burst onto the scene. Here's the record with them:

2016 4 74
2015 3 85
2014 1 98 (swept 3-0 in first round)
2013 3 78
2012 3 89

That record is probably better than some people think, those who state that it's not worth trading a lot of young talent to acquire Mike Trout because the Angels are losing with Trout.

1. The Angels have not been losing that much with Trout.
2. It's stupid.

2016 attendance leader wins sorted by attendance:
Dodgers 91
Cardinals 86
Blue Jays 89
Giants 87
Cubs 103
Yankees 84
Angels 74
Red Sox 93

All but the Red Sox drew at least three million. All but the Angels won at least 81, half the games.

It's a good guess that Angels fans went to the ballpark to see Mike Trout and Albert Pujols and that team ownership and management are glad to have their star power.

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