The Los Angeles Angels are hoping that the 2022 season will finally be the year in which their playoff drought comes to an end.
L.A. hasn’t seen the playoffs since 2014, and the hope is that the agony will need next season.
On paper, that seems like a possibility.
The team has certainly made some nice additions this offseason, and L.A. will be a very intriguing team to follow in 2022.
But in order for the club to actually compete for a playoff bid, a few Angels are going to need to have bounce-back campaigns along the way.
Here are a few guys who could do just that.
3. David Fletcher
The 2021 season was an interesting one for David Fletcher.
The 27-year-old had a rough year at the plate, as he batted just .262 with an OPS of .622 and OPS+ of 71.
But he did make a nice impact with his glove, as he racked up a defensive bWAR of 1.9 and earned 13 Defensive Runs Saved.
David Fletcher hasn’t been great at the plate lately but his defense has been gold glove worthy.
— Soto ⚾️ (@SotoP_23) September 30, 2021
Overall, it was an iffy season for him.
It’s safe to say that there’s plenty of room for him to improve offensively in 2022.
Fletcher’s defense will likely always be the strength of his game, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
But good defense alone isn’t enough.
If he can find a way to produce at merely league-average levels at the plate, then he’ll become an extremely valuable player.
It certainly seems like he’s capable of doing so, as we saw glimpses of greatness from him at the plate in 2020.
He posted an OPS of .801 and OPS+ of 120 during the pandemic-shortened season.
L.A. would love to see some similar numbers from him in 2022.
But even if he were just to maintain something in the ballpark of a .750 OPS and 100 OPS+, that would be a good development.
You could absolutely live with that sort of offensive production from him after factoring in his defense.
2. Noah Syndergaard
Does Noah Syndergaard count as a bounce-back candidate?
Although he isn’t exactly coming off of a poor season, he has a lot to prove in 2022.
That’s because the righty has pitched just two innings since undergoing Tommy John surgery in early 2020.
A strong showing for Syndergaard in 2022 would send a message to the rest of the league that he’s back.
That would be an exciting development for all MLB fans because this guy is a lot of fun to watch when he’s at his best.
The one-time All-Star has a career ERA of 3.32, FIP of 2.93, and WHIP of 1.16.
He’s known best for his electric fastball, and the hope is that we’ll see a lot of that in 2022.
This is Noah Syndergaard's 99mph fastball.
I love Noah Syndergaard's 99mph fastball. pic.twitter.com/0ppOREmpKr
— Nick Pollack (@PitcherList) August 13, 2018
Syndergaard, who’s obviously entering his first season with the Angels, could end up proving to be a massive addition for L.A. if he has a good year in 2022.
1. Mike Trout
If Syndergaard counts as a bounce-back candidate, then so does Mike Trout.
Trout’s 2021 season wasn’t bad by any means when he was on the field (in fact, it was great), but the issue was that he appeared in just 36 games.
A healthy Trout is still the best player in baseball, so the mission for the 30-year-old next season is simple: Steer clear of injuries.
Trout is a three-time MVP, nine-time All-Star and eight-time Silver Slugger.
He has a career OPS of 1.002 and averages a bWAR of 9.6 per 162 games.
MIKE TROUT BIRTHDAY BOMB 🤯
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 8, 2020
The Angels are going to need Trout to stay on the field for the vast majority of their games in 2021 in order to nab a postseason bid.