Best Angels Player (2008)

Francisco Rodriguez

Damn you, Cliff Lee! This season's Cy Young winners won't be announced for several more weeks, but the award for the American League's best pitcher is almost certainly going to Lee, the Cleveland Indians starter who won his 20th game when he had a scant two losses. If it weren't for Lee, though, the Angels' Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez would be a lock for the coveted honor. Last month, Frankie broke the Major League record for number of saves in a single season when he finished off his 58th, shattering an 18-year-old mark. His slider, first unveiled during the Halos' 2002 World Series year, is as deadly as ever. And he's just 26; it's not hard to see him putting up Hall of Fame numbers for seasons to come, even if they aren't with the Angels—Frankie's a free agent after the postseason, and he's expected to land a fat contract somewhere (note to Arte Moreno: Time to start digging in your couch cushions for some stray millions). He's fun as hell to watch—see him scream, pump his fists and kiss the sky whenever he closes out a game. He practices Santería, which, along with Buddhism, has got to be, like, the coolest religion ever. But let's be honest—Frankie's the Best Angel because we're insanely jealous of anyone who works just a few minutes a week and gets paid like he does.


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