Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon had a tremendous 2017 season, forcing himself into the NL MVP conversation. What grade does he deserve?
A former sixth overall draft pick, Anthony Rendon has always had the raw talent. He burst onto the scene in 2013, batting .265 in 98 games. Then, his first full major league season, 2014, was even better. He owned a slash line of .287/.351/.473 with 21 homers in 153 games and won the Silver Slugger Award among National League third basemen.
Unfortunately, Rendon battled injuries in 2015 and struggled a bit. He still had a solid season, but it did not live up to the enormous standards that he set early in his career.
Like we saw this season with Ryan Zimmerman, being healthy helps immensely. That was the case for Rendon as well, as he had a terrific bounce-back season in 2016, leading to him winning National League Comeback Player of the Year.
Although Rendon had an excellent first four seasons in the majors, 2017 was by far his best year yet. When all was said and done, he had a slash line of .301/.403/.533 to go with his 25 homers, 41 doubles, and 100 RBI’s.
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In addition to Rendon’s offensive prowess, he is also an elite defender at the hot corner. He has perfected his uncommon sidearm throw, and makes near-impossible plays look routine on a seemingly daily basis.
Despite the fact that Rendon was not named an All-Star, he will be in the conversation for several awards. He has already been named a Gold Glove Award finalist and will likely be considered for NL MVP and his second Silver Slugger Award.
Throughout Rendon’s fantastic 2017 season, he was frequently associated with the popular statistics website, FanGraphs. This largely began after Daniel Murphy made Rendon’s case for being an All-Star by citing the site. Rendon is a fantastic player, but FanGraphs absolutely loves him, as he led the National League in fWAR this season.
WAR has become one of the most commonly used statistics to gauge a player’s value, so leading the league in it is no small feat.
The 27-year-old third baseman has always had the talent, but has developed into one of the best players in the league in recent years. He does not receive the attention he deserves, which is what he prefers, but is a budding superstar.
At this point, Rendon is among the best players in the league and is an integral part of the Nats’ success. Bryce Harper receives most of the attention, which is understandable, but you could make the case that re-signing Rendon is actually more important than re-signing Harper.
For a player who does not enjoy watching baseball and is not well-known nationally, Rendon has developed into one of the best players in the league. He has long been a great player, but 2017 was by far his best season yet. Because of this, he earns a perfect A.