Washington Nationals: 5 to watch against Atlanta again

rjuckett
May 18, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Washington Nationals catcher Matt Wieters (32) high-fives second baseman Daniel Murphy (20) crossing home plate after Murphy hit a solo home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the second inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
May 18, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Washington Nationals catcher Matt Wieters (32) high-fives second baseman Daniel Murphy (20) crossing home plate after Murphy hit a solo home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the second inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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ANTHONY RENDON

Quietly, Anthony Rendon is having a solid year. A 10-RBI game will skew the stats, but his ability to draw walks and make great plays in the field do not draw the attention of Bryce Harper’s home runs and Ryan Zimmerman’s comeback.

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Being out of the spotlight is comfortable with him. Rendon goes out and gives an honest effort every night. Perhaps the second-best third baseman defensively in the NL behind Nolan Arenado, Rendon snags most balls hit his way and owns a cannon of an arm.

Baseball-Reference’s measure of fielding worth—d-WAR—has Rendon at 0.7. That leads the team. Trea Turner’s 0.4 is second. Between them they have won a game the Nats would have lost solely on their defense.

This month, Rendon has walked more than he struck out. He swiped a pair of bags and has four doubles. Sporting a healthy .900 OPS in May, he has picked up the slack needed after losing Adam Eaton.

Next: Nats want Robertson, Melancon and others

Against the Braves this year, he is 4-for-12 without an RBI. Expect that to change this weekend. His ability to take pitchers will tax Atlanta’s staff while his defense will stifle their hitters.

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