Revenge Tour Season

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It’s revenge tour season, and these six players are out for blood. It’s Opening Weekend for baseball fans around the globe, and they’re all looking forward to seeing their favorite players out on the diamond again. While they enjoyed the play of many elite players throughout the 2021 season, and some especially historic seasons from individual players, namely two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, they still greatly missed the presence of players that are backbone to the game of baseball. It’s revenge tour season, and here are six players that are out for blood. 

Mike Trout

The best player in baseball for the last decade is back and ready to show the world he still is that guy. Mike Trout was out for most of the 2021 season, missing time with a calf injury. Over the last ten years, Trout has either won MVP honors, or was runner up. Only thrice out of those ten years did Trout not finish with hardware or come in second place – one of those years was his rookie year and another was 2020. That is simply amazing. 

You’ll hear Trout referenced anywhere by any fan of the game. He’s beloved by the fans, and is one of the game’s greats. Trout has nothing to prove, but he does have some to quiet down. The rhetoric that Trout can’t stay healthy is not factually correct. He has played in 76% of his games since entering the league. Take his rookie season out in where he only played 40, Trout has played 82% of his games. Add 102 more games to the 2020 season, a season where Trout was healthy, and that percentage goes up. Even when Trout missed 20-30 less games than the full 162, he still either won MVP or was runner up, additionally, the Los Angeles Angels were going nowhere in those seasons. 

Another MVP for Trout?

With another MVP caliber year, Trout can further cement himself as the best player in baseball. If any year was a year to have an MVP caliber season, it’s this one. He has a great lineup around him, and better pitching than any of his years in the Big A. The Angels have a shot at the playoffs. The window is open, and the clubhouse wants nothing more than to be in contention in October. Trout hasn’t got more than 15 plate appearances in October in his career. It’ll be the perfect opportunity to remind the world who he is, and to let the world know if they don’t. It’s revenge tour season, and Trout is out for blood. 

Ronald Acuna Jr.

Ronald Acuna Jr. is one of the most electrifying players in the league. To be honest, MLB needs more personalities like him. Thankfully, they’re starting to see more players be themselves and show more emotion. Acuna Jr. was sidelined half of 2021 with a torn ACL. Before his injury, he was sporting a slash line of .283/.394/.596 to go along with a 155 OPS+, receiving MVP consideration before the torn ACL. Some may have forgotten about Acuna Jr. with all the craziness of the 2021 season, and things didn’t help much when the Atlanta Braves beat the Houston Astros in six in the World Series. 

You can make an assumption that it doesn’t feel good when your team wins without you, their best player, or maybe you are genuinely happy for them. But of course, some may think of you as not so important and not as valuable. With a strong 2021, Acuna Jr. can stifle all the doubters. Especially since Freddie Freeman, the face of the Atlanta Braves, is no longer in the picture. This is the year Ronald can lead his team to another World Series. It is a  year in which Ronald can cement himself as the face of this Braves franchise. The year he can win his first MVP award. The Braves have improved despite Freddie’s departure, and Ronald can be front and center, at the helm of this talented Braves squad. It’s revenge tour season, and Ronald Acuna Jr.is out for blood. 

Christian Yelich

Many may remember when Yelich was putting up Mike Trout like numbers in 2018 (his MVP season) and 2019 when he was runner up. Yelich has shown superstar qualities, and still has superstar potential. He’s in a position where he can easily be recognized as the face of the Milwaukee Brewers. All he has to overcome is his poor performances in the last two seasons. 

Over the last two seasons Yelich hasn’t slugged more than .430 and hasn’t posted an OPS+ of more than 110. Compared to 2018 and 2019, when he posted a .598 and .671 SLG to go along with a 164 and 179 OPS+. Fans have definitely missed his bat, and so has his franchise. In 2020, Yelich signed a nine-year/215 million contract, a seven-year extension to his original contract. The Brewers have been in playoff contention for the last four years. In the 2021 NLDS, the Brewers’ offense couldn’t be found. Throughout the 2021 season, it was the Brewers’ dynamite pitching that led them to the playoffs.

If Yelich can figure it out, he will once again be the heart of this offense, and will have a sparkling effect on the rest of the lineup. With a dynamite staff and bullpen, and a healthy Christian Yelich, this team can compete in a favorable division and make a deep playoff run. But Yelich needs to be Yelich. It’s revenge tour season, and Christian Yelich is out for blood. 

Anthony Rendon

Anthony Rendon is considered by many as a Top-Three third-baseman in baseball. He’s definitely the best offensive third-baseman in the league. In 2021, Rendon was sidelined majority of the season due to a hamstring injury. In the last five seasons excluding 2021, Rendon has posted an OPS above .900 in each, as well as 24+ homers and 41+ doubles in each except for the 2020 season (however, he did have a .900+ OPS in 2020). Realistically, Rendon has been nails ever since 2016.

Rendon joined the Angels in 2020, and we haven’t seen him and Trout in the lineup often due to a shortened 2020 and an injury riddled 2021. This is the first full season where Angels fans will be able to see what Rendon can do. If you haven’t watched him before, he produces great at-bats and can definitely pick the ball at third base. Some have already written him off, describing him as a ‘bust’. Just input “Anthony Rendon contract” into a search engine and you’ll see. 

Angels fans should be hopeful this season. Rendon has shown signs of being great before, and with a better Angels team, one can definitely say that he’s ready and hungry to help this team get to the postseason, and prove he’s worthy of his massive contract.

He has tons to offer, is worth the seven-year/$245 million contract, and is the Angels’ third baseman of the future. There is opposition to quell, statements to make, and with an All-Star season, Rendon will be able to do just that. It’s revenge tour season, and Anthony Rendon is out for blood. 

Shane Bieber

Shane Bieber was one of the most dominant pitchers of the shortened 2020 season. In fact, he won the AL Cy Young that year. He was out for majority of the 2021 season with a right shoulder injury. The Cleveland Guardians will welcome their ace back to the mound, and hope that he is able to have a fully healthy season. It will be interesting to see what Bieber can do over the course of a full season post injury. There are a few Cy Young candidates in the AL and Bieber should absolutely be considered as one of them. 

Shane will have his work cut out for him. The Chicago White Sox continue to climb the ladder, and now the Minnesota Twins have added some star power and have seen star players return to the lineup. If Bieber can repeat what he did in 2020 over the course of the 2022 season, he will reclaim his status as one of the most elite pitchers in the game. It’s revenge tour season, and Shane Bieber is out for blood. 

Justin Verlander

The two-time Cy Young and MVP will return to the mound for the Houston Astros in a highly anticipated start against the Los Angeles Angels on Opening Weekend. The Astros’ ace was sidelined in 2020 and for the majority of 2021 due to Tommy John surgery. 

The 39-year old doesn’t have anything more to prove. However a huge exclamation mark for JV would be to have a Cy Young caliber season for the ‘Stros. Justin sat out for the Astros’ October run in 2021 in which they lost to the Atlanta Braves in the World Series. It was difficult for him knowing he was not able to pitch for his team, sharing on social media that he couldn’t wait to get back out onto the field. 

The pitching staff for the Astros is already pretty good, but JV can definitely add more juice to the staff, which makes Houston even more scarier to face down the stretch. With their stacked lineup, and superb staff, you wouldn’t be far off to pencil them in for an appearance in the 2022 World Series – and a healthy, effective, gun-slinging Justin Verlander reminding the baseball world who he is, would be a HUGE part of that campaign. It’s revenge tour season, and Justin Verlander is out for blood. 

 

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images

Players Mentioned:

Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, Ronald Acuna Jr., Freddie Freeman, Christian Yelich, Anthony Rendon, Shane Bieber, Justin Verlander