Ranking the NL East: Third Base

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Sep 9, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon (6) slides to catch Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons (not pictured) infield pop fly during the fifth inning at Nationals Park. Washington Nationals defeated against the Atlanta Braves 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

# 2 – Anthony Rendon

If I went just by last year’s fWAR Rendon is the clear choice. He led all Major League third basemen in fWAR (even though he split time between second and third last year) and his wRC+ was third behind Adrian Beltre and Josh Harrison. He also finished fifth in the NL MVP voting last season, which is probably too low. Oh, and he’ll play next year at the youthful age of 26 and is due to hit for more power.

Why is he second then?

Rendon is an amazing player that makes all the plays at third, hits to all fields, and should only improve as he ages. Last year I argued that he had a legitimate claim for MVP, and it’s not exactly a leap of faith to believe he’ll be in the conversation yearly. He’s sitting here at second only because I want to see him do all those things again now that pitchers have seen a full year of him and pitching coaches begin to plan around him. With Jayson Werth on the mend, this year is an important one for Rendon to step up and be one of the Nationals’ key contributors. With the team already seen as an early favorite in the NL, Rendon will receive plenty of attention for his overall talents. With a repeat of last season, he’ll likely finish higher than fifth in MVP.

Steamer projects a .279/.350/.454 slash line with 19 home runs and 5.0 fWAR. This guy is ridiculously talented and is only getting better. So, yeah, I’m a huge fan and unashamed. I just think the next guy is better.

Next: Number One?