Liz Barr: Anthony Rendon still has a lot to play for

On a team with stars such as Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Trea Turner and Juan Soto, sometimes it can be easy to forget about Anthony Rendon. And while it’s probably what he wants, as the man famously will go to excessive lengths to avoid talking about himself and his accomplishments, we would be doing the world a great injustice if we let what he’s done this season go away quietly without mention.

Even as everyone has been ignoring him, Rendon has put together a stellar season. And even though the Nationals have been eliminated from postseason contention, Rendon still has some milestones he can work toward, and with the season ending in the offensive hotbed of Colorado, some of those milestones are even more attainable than previously thought.

This season, Rendon is hitting .312/.378/.540 and has 24 home runs, 43 doubles (a career high), 160 hits, 87 runs scored and 91 RBIs. Over the past two weeks, he has been on fire, hitting five home runs and collecting 20 RBIs. Over the remaining four games on the schedule, Rendon could hit one more home run for an even 25 (also a career high), two more doubles for an even 45, could inch closer to his career high of 176 hits and might even have a chance to grab nine more RBIs for 100. It’s Denver, anything is possible.

The goal for Rendon is to also continue producing consistently for the last few games and keep his average above .300. He’s only managed it once before in his career (last season, when he hit .301), and it’s an important and impressive thing to have notched on the back of your baseball card forever.

There’s also a chance that Rendon could compete for a Silver Slugger at third base this season. He is currently leading all qualified National League third basemen in average, on-base percentage and doubles. He is tied with Nolan Arenado for the lead in OPS and trails Arenado for the lead in slugging percentage by a miniscule amount (.544 and .540). He is second to Arenado in hits, third behind Arenado and Eugenio Suárez in RBIs, and third behind Matt Carpenter and Arenado in runs scored. However, Rendon has significantly fewer strikeouts than Carpenter, Arenado and Suárez. He might not win, but he certainly should be up there in serious consideration.

Speaking of serious consideration, this might be the year that Rendon finally wins the Gold Glove. Arenado, the perennial Gold Glove winner at third base, has had a down year defensively, especially by his standards, so the door is open, and this might be Rendon’s best chance. He has a pretty good case, too. Rendon is leading all qualified NL third basemen in fielding percentage at .980 (Arenado is at .966). He also only has six errors, while Arenado has 14, the fourth-most among qualifiers. Rendon also has the edge on Arenado in ultimate zone rating, holding a 5.4 mark to Arenado’s 4.1. The numbers are behind him, and there’s a chance he might actually win it this year.

The Nationals may be out of it, and that may be an unfamiliar feeling, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to play for. There are a number of awards for players to reach for, and various offensive milestones to try and get that will only be closer within reach with the final series of the year coming at Coors Field. It’s been a good year for the guys, it just hasn’t ever worked out. Let’s end it on a high note.

Liz Barr blogs about the Nationals for The Nats Blog. Follow her on Twitter: @RaiseTheBarr1. Her opinions on the Nationals will appear here as part of MASNsports.com’s initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our little corner of cyberspace. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

blog comments powered by Disqus