Anthony Rendon, 2014
Stats: 153 games, .287/.351/.473, .824 OPS, 178 hits, 39 doubles, 21 home runs, 111 runs scored, 83 RBIs, 17 stolen bases, 58 walks, and 104 strikeouts
Awards: Silver Slugger, 5th in MVP voting
"“I feel like he’s carried us offensively. We’ve been in first place for a little bit this first half and he’s been the catalyst. He’s done everything. He’s got on base, he’s scored runs, knocked in a ton of runs. Defensively, he’s been unbelievable at second base and third base.” – Denard Span on Rendon, 2014 (h/t Zac Boyer, The Washington Times)"
The emergence of Anthony Rendon onto the Major League scene was a quiet one, but only due to his demeanor rather than his performance on the field. After a promising rookie season in which he hit .265/.329/.396 with 31 extra-base hits and 35 RBIs in 98 games, there were many who believed Rendon was capable of making the leap to stardom. He didn’t wait long to do just that, leading the Nationals to their second franchise NL East crown with consistent production at the top of the lineup.
Rendon hit out of the No. 2 spot for a majority of the season. Alongside leadoff man Denard Span, the two combined to form one of the most formidable tandems at the top of the lineup in all of baseball. He was the first Nat to finish in the Top 5 in MVP voting. Although he did not make the All-Star Team, his Silver Slugger at third base was a testament to how well he performed at the plate.