Do we now know why Mike Rizzo insisted on keeping Anthony Rendon at 3rd base in the minors? What should Nats fans expect from Antony Rendon as he makes his first start for the Nationals on Sunday. Rizzo has stated he likes his approach at the plate. There are some clues from his college days that might hint towards what that approach is about. My experience with Rendon goes back to his college days playing for the Rice Owls. I was also attending Rice at the time and my attention was trained on the top collegiate prospect in the nation. Little did I know I was also watching a future Nats draft pick. Rendon was the 2010 Howser trophy winner, given to the top player in college baseball. His collegiate stats were impressive: .394 AVG, 26 HR, 85 RBI, .801 SLG%, in only 63 games. The previous Howser winners prior to Rendon in order were Strasburg, Posey, and David Price. Interestingly, Redon was chosen over Bryce Harper, who was awarded the Golden Spikes a similar amateur player award. Unlike Harper, Rendon was required to return for his junior year in order to become draft eligible.
The 2011 season for Rendon saw a drop in production in every statistical category based on an offseason injury that had him DH most of the year. His stat line that year was .327 AVG, 6 HR, 37 RBI, .523 SLG%, in 63 games. Watching him play it was clear that the other teams were not pitching to Rendon. He still had a OBP of .520 with 80 walks in 63 games. I think with Rendon, this team will have something from the infield it has lacked, a high OBP type player with occasional power. Currently every infield position player is 0ver 20% strike out rate for the year, which so far has lead to an uneven start to the season. Rendon’s bat in the lineup for the next 14 days should provide a different look for this team.