Remember during draft time when all the naysayers complained about Anthony Rendon and his ability to stay healthy?
I do too, and I asked a professional who was there. He recollected what the apprehension was for Rendon when the Nationals selected him in 2011.
Jim Callis was the executive editor for Baseball America back then. He is now the senior writer for MLBpipeline.com
“He had two right ankle injuries I thought were fluky in college and thought he was the best guy in that 2011 draft,” Callis remembered. “He did have a shoulder injury that year that limited him to mostly DHing at Rice. Then he fractured the left ankle early on in pro ball. Scouts loved the guy, I got (comparisons) to Ryan Zimmerman and Evan Longoria and David Wright.”
What a find Rendon has been. He can play second base, third base and he can lead off. He has done all three to start this season and he has hit in clutch situations - and delivered, especially recently as the Nationals’ leadoff third baseman.
Against the Marlins on Monday, he showcased his talents again. He went 2-for-5 with a double, triple and three RBIs. He also has three RBIs, all with two outs, April 8 against Miami.
Callis said it was hard to quantify Rendon’s major league long term track because he was injured a lot in college and didn’t play the position at third base as much as some scouts wanted to see. But boy could he hit. He had quick hands that moved the bat well and found the ball. He could spray the ball to all fields.
“It was tough because you couldn’t see him play much third base in his draft year, but scouts loved him,” Callis said. “(I) used to argue with one guy at Baseball America who wanted to discount him because of the injuries, but I always felt they were more fluky. Glad to see him doing well.”
He is doing well, very well. He has 19 hits in 14 games, is batting .345, has five double, two triples, two homers and 12 RBIs. He has no errors in 40 chances so far at second base and third base combined, turning a pair of double plays.
Rendon can easily be slotted in to the third base spot for years to come for the Nationals, paving the way to move Zimmerman to first base some this year and permanently in 2015. Now, watch Rendon go after batting titles. The way he hits, it is well within his reach.