Washington Nationals: Mid-Term Report Card: Corner Infielders

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 17: Anthony Rendon #6 of the Washington Nationals celebrates with Victor Robles #16 and Howie Kendrick #47 after hitting a two-run home run in the third inning against the Chicago Cubs at Nationals Park on May 17, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 17: Anthony Rendon #6 of the Washington Nationals celebrates with Victor Robles #16 and Howie Kendrick #47 after hitting a two-run home run in the third inning against the Chicago Cubs at Nationals Park on May 17, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) /
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We keep our mid-term report card series going today as we take a look at the performance of the Washington Nationals’ corner infielders.

For the Washington Nationals, the corner infield spots have been a strength of their teams for many years.

Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon have been manning down the corners of the infield for many years now, and this season Matt Adams and Howie Kendrick have had outstanding years as complementary pieces.

Anthony Rendon is the best offensive player on the Nationals, and his play on the field in 2019 has shown that. Entering the break the first-time All-Star is hitting for a line of .304/.386/611 with 22 doubles, 20 home runs, and 62 runs batted in. Rendon is going to shatter his previous record of 25 home runs in a season and has a good chance to reach 100 RBI for the second time in his career. Defensively Rendon is as good as they get, despite his misleading 0 defensive WAR. GRADE: 95% A+

Entering the 2019 season, expectations were not high for Howie Kendrick. At 35-years-old coming off a torn ACL injury, there were questions if Kendrick could still be a productive player at the Major League level. In the first half, he has put that narrative to rest for good, hitting for a line of .327/.378/.563 with 13 doubles, 12 home runs, and 47 runs batted in. Without Kendrick, the Nationals likely would not be in the position they are today. He has been a consistent offensive force and a key part of the team’s recent success. Grade: 85% B+

Bringing back Matt Adams was one of the more under-the-radar moves of the Nationals’ offseason. With Kendrick slated to return and Ryan Zimmerman still in the fold, there was not a clear spot for Adams on the roster. Despite this, Washington went out and signed him to a cheap, team-friendly deal and the move has really paid off. Despite hitting just .234, Adams has 21 extra base hit, 13 home runs, and 36 runs batted in. Most importantly, when Adams is on the field, the Nationals win games. Washington is 25-13 in games that Adams starts, and 35-28 in games he appears in. GRADE: 80% B-

Next. Washington Nationals: Mid-Term Report Card: Starting Pitching. dark

Before this season I wrote an article stating that Ryan Zimmerman was the “X-Factor” for the Nationals in 2019, but he has not been healthy enough to make a true impact on the team. Coming into the All-Star break he has appeared in just 27 games, hitting for a line of .240/.315/.396 with three home runs and 13 runs batted in. He did look good on Friday night against Kansas City in a three-hit performance, but Zimmerman really needs to be on the field more before we can get a true grade of his performance. GRADE: 70% C-