Rendon mixing up his tendencies to confuse pitchers

Nationals second baseman Anthony Rendon continues to prove he can hit at the big league level. In just 14 games, Rendon is hitting .306 (15-for-49) with five doubles, five RBIs, six walks and 12 strikeouts.

In the last 10 games, Rendon is hitting .382 (13-for-34) with four RBIs, seven strikeouts and all six of his walks.

So that shows he is getting used to pitches he is seeing and is finding a way to make contact.

His hand speed and balance at the plate are impressive. His approach can make up for his lack of experience against big league pitches. When you are a hitter, you can hit.

One tendency that some noticed early was his patience by always taking the first pitch.

Opponents noticed, and started firing first-pitch strikes to him because they knew he would not swing.

If you look at his last four games, it looks like Rendon is making the adjustment. In every game since Sunday, Rendon has gone after the first pitch at least once every game.

His productivity cannot be questioned. He has at least a hit in all six games since his return to the Nationals on June 5. But with Rendon taking the first pitch, a lot of times he was facing each at-bat with one less strike available than other hitters.

Against the Twins on Sunday in Game 1, Rendon went after the first pitch in two of his four at-bats. In Game 2 and the first two games in Denver, Rendon has gone after the first pitch at least once in each contest.

This is far from a scientific statistical breakdown, just a note to watch Rendon's at-bats this week, and see how many times he takes first pitch. Rendon is so good a hitter, he has still been able to hit above .300 even down 0-1 in the count.

In 30 plate appearances according to BaseballReference.com, Rendon is batting .333 in an 0-1 count. He is only batting .200 (1-for-5) when going after the first pitch. He has only done that in four games and five plate appearances. In 20 plate appearances after the count was 1-0, Rendon is batting .294. He has been able to maintain his consistency either way.

But you want to make sure the pitcher does not believe you will always take the first pitch. With Rendon mixing up his tendency on first pitches, he adds one more thread of doubt to a pitcher's mind as he decides what to throw the talented newcomer to begin each at-bat.

Anthony Rendon first-pitch tendency, last four games (plate appearance result in parentheses):

Sunday, Game 1 (Nats beat Twins 7-0):

Second inning - first-pitch called strike (flies out left field)
Fourth inning - first-pitch foul ball (single)
Fifth inning - first-pitch ball (double)
Seventh inning - first-pitch foul ball (walk)

Sunday Game 2 (Nats beat Twins 5-4):

Second inning - first-pitch ball (struck out swinging)
Fourth inning - first-pitch ball (lined out to left field)
Sixth inning - first-pitch swing (single)
Seventh inning - first-pitch called strike (struck out swinging)

Tuesday (Rockies beat Nats 8-3):

Second inning - first-pitch called strike (single)
Fourth inning - first-pitch in play (flied out to center field)
Sixth inning - first-pitch ball (flied out to center field)
Eighth inning - first-pitch called strike (grounded out to third)

Wednesday (Nats beat Rockies 5-1):

Second inning - first-pitch called strike (grounded into force out to short)
Fourth inning - first-pitch called strike (Desmond caught stealing)
Fifth inning - first-pitch in play (grounded out to third)
Sixth inning - first-pitch called strike (single)
Eighth inning - first-pitch ball (double)


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