In 2010, the Nationals had the No. 1 overall selection in the First-Year Player Draft and picked the best offensive player available in Bryce Harper.
In 2011, the Nationals selected No. 6, and many believe they again got the best hitter on the board, Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said the Nats were thrilled to see a player of Rendon’s talents fall to them at No. 6.
“Rendon is a tough guy to strike out,” Rizzo said. “He has great raw power and is a very efficient hitter. We feel good about it. We feel like he is the best player available with this draft.”
Did the Nationals have any reservations regarding Rendon’s shoulder and ankle injuries?
Rizzo said Rendon checked out medically and the Nationals have no questions about his overall health - or other teams’ decisions not to pick him higher than the sixth selection.
“We felt great about it,” Rizzo said. “We lined up as far as who would give us the most impact and Anthony was right there. No second thoughts about pulling the trigger.”
Rizzo feels that Rendon has the tools to be able to move up the farm system and will begin at the Single-A level once he signs a contract. The Nationals and Rendon must come to an agreement by mid-August.
“He is a terrifically polished college player,” Rizzo said. “I think he will be a quick study. We have thought about him a lot.”
Here’s the Baseball America scouting report on Rendon:
“He strained his throwing shoulder in the second week of the season and has played little in the field. Rendon hadn’t given teams any medical information as of mid-May, leaving them in the dark about the severity of the injury. Though it has affected his swing and bat speed, he’s still the best all-around hitter in the draft. The 6-foot, 190-pounder has tremendous strength in his hands and wrists, uncanny hand-eye coordination and exceptional strike-zone discipline. Teams have pitched around him all season, and he was the runaway NCAA Division I leader with 66 walks. His bat speed and ability to barrel balls give Rendon more usable power than any player in the draft, with scouts projecting the right-handed hitter to bat .300 with 25-30 homers a year in the major leagues. When healthy, Rendon is a gifted third baseman with above-average range and arm strength. He has drawn comparisons to Evan Longoria and Ryan Zimmerman, though he bears a closer physical resemblance to David Wright.”