District on Deck’s 2012 Top 15 Nationals Prospects: #2 Anthony Rendon

Image courtesy: textbookplays.com

Name: Anthony Rendon

Date of Birth: June 6, 1990

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Height: 6’0″

Weight: 190

Rendon was originally drafted by the Washington Nationals in 2011. He was the 6th selection in the 1st Round out of Rice University (Houston, TX). Rice has produced a number of current and former Major Leaguers, a list that includes Lance Berkman, Jeff Niemann, and Norm Charlton. Leading into the 2011 college season Rendon was widely viewed as a potential #1 overall pick in the coming draft. Injuries, notably a troublesome ankle, limited him during the season but none of the injuries were viewed as a chronic concern moving forward.

The injuries did cause Rendon to slip slightly in the draft, though that was more because of the dominating seasons of other top draft picks rather than a lack of production from Rendon himself, but the Nationals were widely viewed as getting a steal at the 6th overall pick. The organization never doubted their ability to sign the infielder, but a deal was not completed until just before the August deadline (receiving a bonus of $6 Million), keeping Rendon from appearing in any games professionally before the season concluded.

Top Prospect Rankings

Baseball America (Top 10): 2nd

MLB.com (Top 10): Unranked

FanGraphs (Top 15): 2nd

Seedlings to Stars (MLB Top 100): #10 overall, 2nd out of 7 Nationals to make the list

DoD Editor Aaron Somers (Top 15): 2nd

DoD Staff Writer Michael Natelli (Top 15): 7th

DoD Staff Writer Andrew Flax (Top 15): 2nd

Scouting Report

From FanGraphs:

A third baseman in college, Rendon will likely move to second base due to the presence of Ryan Zimmerman at the hot corner. He projects to be at least average defensively at the position, but his bat should be well above average. Rendon has excellent bat speed and projects to hit for both average and power.

If it had not been for a serious of unrelated injuries, he could very well have gone 1st overall in 2011. It’s a minor miracle to consider that Washington got Rendon with the 6th overall pick. You could argue that the club received the best player available for three straight seasons (Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper being the others).

The Positives

Baseball America did note Rendon has having the “Best Strike Zone Discipline” and was named the “Best Hitter for Average” in the Nationals’ minor league system – two quality compliments and a solid illustration of where his strengths lie. Offensively there are some that believe he could be MLB-ready now, though there is no chance that the Washington organization rushes him directly to the Majors without first spending some time facing minor league pitching first.

The Not-so-Positives

Finding a weakness is tough as Rendon is considered a quality overall talent. Most of his minor league career has been spent at third base, so it is uncertain how smoothly the transition to second may go. He does have some experience there, so most scouts don’t envision there to be any major concerns moving forward. Aside from that, the only real concern with Rendon is how he’ll be able to remain healthy. Injuries have plagued him each of the past three seasons, though none serious enough to keep him out for a significant amount of time.

2012 and Beyond Expectations

Rendon is generally regarded as a complete player with a good eye, solid plate discipline, and a strong on base ability. After three seasons in a competitive D-I collegiate program, he also seems to possess the maturity to handle the challenges the game can bring. The 2012 season will largely be about two things for Rendon and Nationals – getting him adjusted to the life of a professional player and becoming more comfortable at second base. It would not be a surprise to see Rendon begin the season with Double-A, potentially moving up to Triple-A with a solid performance in his first 150-175 plate appearances.

There are some that believe Rendon could ultimately find his way to Washington late in the 2012 season. While the possibility certainly exists, it would not be a surprise to see the Nationals take an approach with Rendon similar to that which they took with Harper in 2011. Both were highly regarded players entering their first professional season under high expectations. The organization didn’t rush Harper and they won’t rush Rendon.

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  • Mr.Dumberton

    One big difference is that Rendon is two years older than Bryce. It makes it much more likely that he will be fast-tracked. Plus he will not be making as drastic a defensive switch as Harper.

  • http://districtondeck.com/ Aaron Somers

    @Mr.Dumberton Both valid points. Rendon is older, presumably more mature. And his defensive change is not as drastic as Harper’s. But, there is little that this organization has done over the past few seasons that leads me to believe that Rendon’s arrival in Washington during the 2012 season is a sure thing. He’ll need to earn his way there, which he certainly is capable of doing, but they won’t rush him. Thanks for the comment.

  • Mr.Dumberton

    @Aaron Somers Agreed. I am not suggesting that they will or should rush him, but clearly his is a different situation from Harper’s (drafted at 17, played one year of JUCO). Look at Zimmerman, he was a three year starter (similar to Rendon) at UVA before being drafted #4. He actually signed immediately and was called up by the following September, full-time the next season. I suppose that Zimmerman is more the exception, but his profile is much closer to Rendon’s.

    The team is also not the same. Zimmerman was replacing Vinnie Castilla, Rendon (if he moves to second) would be potentially replacing Desmond or Espinosa, both guys that the team highly values. Meaning that there is less pressure to move him up.

    Bottom line – with Harper and Rendon in the pipeline, I think it is a good time to be a Nats fan!

  • http://districtondeck.com/ Aaron Somers

    @Mr.Dumberton I had forgotten how quickly Zimmerman had arrived in Washington. You’re right, it was a different team, different circumstances. But it’s a good point and I appreciate the reminder.

    And yes, it is a good time to be a Nationals fan. 2012 should prove to be an interesting year.

  • funkyalligator

    Well some thoughts on this, I’m hoping that rendon is tried out at various positions because his OBP batting 2nd would help solidify the lineup and provide that man on base to get the runs for the 3-4-5 slots. If I wasn’t so sure the Morse is slotted to be moved to 1st after larouche leaves I’d say move rendon there.

  • http://districtondeck.com/ Aaron Somers

    @funkyalligator Don’t forget that Marrero will be in the mix for first base in 2013, once he returns from his torn hamstring. Between him and Morse the position will likely be covered.

    I’ve heard mention in the past about trying Rendon in left field but I don’t know if he has any history at the position. Second base just seem like the most logical fit considering the roster makeup. Zimmerman isn’t likely going anywhere and Espinosa seems destined to move over to shortstop once Desmond is gone (an eventual trade, I’d guess).