Anthony Rendon played tremendous baseball this year for the Washington Nationals. How did he did he do on his year-end report card?
In his second full season, Rendon was one of six players to hit 20-plus home runs and is the only Nat to earn nomination for a Gold Glove. Although he did not have a good National League Divisional Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, his regular season numbers show a substantial impact.
After missing half of 2015, Rendon played in 156 games this year. With a slash line of .270/.348/.450, he got on base often from the start of the bottom of the lineup. He stole 12 bases and scored 91 runs. Neither of those numbers are career highs, but meshed well in the total team approach Washington used on offense.
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His 38 doubles were ninth-best in the NL. Rendon’s 85 RBI is a career high, batting behind Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy all season. What is amazing about that stat is he had only one RBI in April. In his last 45 games, he drove in 43 after August 1. When they needed him to produce to secure the division, he did.
The best part of Rendon’s game is his defense. Emerging as one of the best defensive third baseman, he led the NL with 134 putouts. His .976 fielding percentage also topped the league. His 16 total zone runs were good enough for second and he helped turn 25 double plays.
That is as close to Brooks Robinson as you can get.
As Rendon enters the prime years of his career at 26, he is a complete player. He can win games with his power, speed and glove. His Adjusted OPS+ in 2016 is 110. His WAR of 4.1 says the Nationals won four games with him in the lineup than they would not with a scrub player.
Although he will not draw the MVP consideration as Rendon did in 2014, his solid 2016 should not be ignored. Coming off a cold start, it is safe to say without him that the Nationals do not ease into the playoffs.