Harper at No. 1 is pretty obvious, but executive editor Jim Callis believes Rendon probably deserves a top 10 ranking.
“We have him No. 19 on our top 100, I think that is 10 spots too low,” Callis said. “I am probably the biggest Rendon fan outside of the Nationals (front office).”
Callis said Rendon may not hit as many home runs as Harper, but he still has the potential to be a consistent major league hitter and get a ton of extra base hits in his own right.
“I don’t think he is going to quite have Harper’s power,” Callis said. “I don’t think anybody does. I think he will have plus power. I think he will be a better hitter for average. In 2010, when Rendon was a sophomore and Harper was the No. 1 pick in the draft, I said at the time I would have taken Rendon over Harper. I changed my tune, I would take Harper over Rendon now.
“But I still think Rendon was the best player in the draft last year and because of the shoulder injury the Nationals were able to steal him with the No. 6 pick. I wrote a column that the Nationals could have gotten the best player in three straight drafts which would be a ridiculous accomplishment.”
Callis said Rendon fell because of concerns over his shoulder, which is now 100 percent recovered.
“The two knocks on Rendon were the injuries and his size. I see those injuries as flukes, not chronic, long term things. He is not a biggest guy, he is normal size, not like an oversize presence like Harper,” Callis said. “I am not worrying about his health or the bat. The only question is with Ryan Zimmerman on hand where does Rendon wind up. I think we will know a lot more about that at the end of the year.
“I think he will be in Washington some time in 2013.”
So what scenario would Rendon fall into if Zimmerman is still at third? Would the Nationals move someone or trade Ian Desmond to get him into the infield? Callis believes if Rendon isn’t at third base, he could be at second.
“I don’t think he is quick enough to play shortstop,” Callis said. “I think he has some tools to be a Gold Glove third baseman. He is a very good third baseman. To me, he would be better off if they put (Danny) Espinosa at shortstop and Rendon at second (if Zimmerman stays at third).”
Either way, similar to stocking pitching depth, having talent like Rendon’s in the infield can only help the Nationals as they steamroll to contention.