Nationals: Anthony Rendon Heating Up At Right Time

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Since the All-Star Break, Anthony Rendon has been one of the best hitters in the Washington Nationals lineup.

The 2015 season was a rough one for Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon. He only played in 80 games because of injury and hit .264 with only five home runs and 25 RBI’s. In the second half, he hit .256 after getting only 69 at-bats in the first half.

While Rendon is not the player who finished fourth the National League MVP voting in 2014, his offense has been great in the second half of the season. Over the last 21 games, the 26-year-old is hitting .325 with four home runs, 15 RBI’s, and a .398 on-base percentage. The only third baseman with a higher batting average in the second half of the season is the Dodgers Justin Turner (.333).

Yesterday, in the Washington Nationals 7-4 win over the Cleveland Indians at Nats Park, Rendon had two doubles, including one that went down the third base line and drove in two runs in the bottom of the fifth. He now has at least one double in three straight games (four overall).

Since the All-Star Break, Rendon’s .398 on-base percentage is the highest on the Washington Nationals. In addition, his 25 hits are tied with Trea Turner for the second most on the Washington Nationals (Wilson Ramos has 29), he is tied with Ramos for second in RBI’s (Daniel Murphy has 19), second in slugging percentage (.597), and he is second in walks (nine).

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With Bryce Harper out of the lineup because of the neck injury, manager Dusty Baker has used Rendon in the cleanup spot lately. While five games is too small of a sample size, he is hitting .368 over that span with two home runs and five RBI’s.

Right now, if you go by WAR, Rendon’s 2.6 WAR is third among Washington Nationals position players, trailing only Ramos (3.2) and Murphy (3.7) according to Baseball Reference. Among all third baseman, he is sixth in the National League.

Next: Offense Steps Up In 7-4 Win Over Indians

Since Stephen Drew is on the disabled list, the Washington Nationals have needed Rendon to stay healthy, so he can play third base everyday. That allows Murphy to stay at first while Ryan Zimmerman is on the DL. Plus, Rendon’s defense hasn’t missed a beat when you consider he is third among NL third baseman in defensive runs saved (according to Fangraphs).

Even with Harper out of the lineup for now, Rendon is heating up at a time when the Washington Nationals need production in between Murphy and Ramos. He could be that X-Factor down the stretch that helps this offense once the Washington Nationals head into September and hopefully, deep into October. It may not be the 2014 version of Rendon, but it’s safe to say his offense is back.