Anthony Rendon

From BR Bullpen

Anthony Rendon NASA.jpg

Anthony Michael Rendon

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Anthony Rendon was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 27th round of the 2008 amateur draft but opted to attend Rice University instead. In 2010, he won the Dick Howser Trophy and was named ABCA Player of the Year. He was then chosen by the Washington Nationals with the sixth overall pick in the 2011 amateur draft.

Rendon only made his professional debut in 2012, but played only 43 games, at four different levels in the minor leagues. Starting the season with the Class A Potomac Nationals, he suffered a severe ankle sprain in his second game of the year, on April 7th, and had to miss three months of action. Back on the field on July 19th, he first made rehabilitation stints with the GCL Nationals, where he hit .364 in 5 games, and the Auburn Doubledays of the New York-Penn League, where he hit .259 in 8 games. Back in Potomac, he hit .333 in 9 games to earn a promotion to the AA Harrisburg Senators, where he finished the season hitting .162 in 21 games. Overall, he only hit .233, but with a solid .363 OBP and .469 slugging percentage, banging out 8 doubles, 4 triples and 6 homers in his limited playing time. He was named the #30 prospect by Baseball America in its annual list of the top 100 prospects in baseball entering 2013. He started the 2013 season back in Harrisburg, where he hit .292 with 2 home runs in 7 games.

Rendon made his major league debut earlier than anticipated, as the Nationals called him up to the majors on April 21, 2013, to start at third base in place of the injured Ryan Zimmerman, who was placed on the disabled list. He hit sixth in the batting order against the New York Mets and went 0 for 4 with a pair of strikeouts. He hit his first career home run in a key situation on June 15th, with the score tied at 6 with two outs in the 9th inning against the Cleveland Indians. Facing Vinnie Pestano, Rendon first hit a pop-up down the first base line, but 1B Nick Swisher misjudged the ball and let it fall down for a foul ball; given a second chance, Rendon then hit the next pitch over the right field wall for a 7-6 win. Rendon ended up playing 98 games for Washington, hitting .265/.329/.396 with 7 homers and 35 RBI. After Zimmerman's return to health, he got most of his playing time at second base, starting 81 games at the position, and also played 4 games at shortstop.

Rendon was the Nationals' Opening Day second baseman in 2014, batting 8th against the New York Mets on March 31st. He ended up as the hero of that game when he hit a three-run homer against John Lannan with two outs in the top of the 10th inning as Washington won, 9-7. He had an excellent month of April, topped with a great night on April 30th, when he went 4 for 5 with a double, a homer and 3 RBIs in a 7-0 win over the Houston Astros. That gave him 36 hits for the month, to go along with 17 runs and 20 RBIs, the latter two figures the best on the team. That sent him on his way to a great season in which he hit .287/.351/.473 in 153 games, with 39 doubles, 6 triples and 21 homers,. he led the National League with 111 runs scored and was named the winner of the Silver Slugger Award as the league's best-hitting third baseman, having moved to the position after Ryan Zimmerman was injured early in the year. In fact, he played so well that the Nats decided to play Zimmerman in left field when he returned, and then to move him permanently to first base the following season. Rendon was one of the few Nationals players to hit well against the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS, going 7 for 19 (.368). However, lack of production from the middle of the team's line-up meant that he did not score any runs and only drove in one, and the Nats were eliminated in four games.

Rendon hurt his knee while making a defensive play at third base in a spring training game on March 9, 2015. The injury turned out to be more serious than originally thought, forcing him to start the season on the disabled list with no timetable set for his return. He finally made his debut on June 4th, going 2 for 4 in a 4-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs. He played 80 games that season and hit .264 with 5 homers and 25 RBIs. In 2016, he was healthy all year and played 156 games, hitting .270 with 38 doubles, 20 home runs, 91 runs and 85 RBIs. The Nats won a division title, but he went only 3 for 20 as they once again bowed out of the postseason in the first round, this time losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Division Series.

He had a game for the ages on April 30, 2017 against the New York Mets. Coming into the game with no homers and only 5 RBIs, he went 6-for-6, blasted his first three homers, and collected a team-record 10 RBIs. He also scored 5 runs. He was only the second player in history to have 6 hits and 10 RBIs in the same game, after Walker Cooper. Two of his home runs came against Sean Gilmartin and the other against catcher Kevin Plawecki, pitching in mop-up relief. The Nats won the game handily, 23-5. He was the first player to drive in 10 runs in a game since Garret Anderson in 2007. On May 23rd, he had another great game, albeit not a historic one, this time, when he homered twice and drove in 5 runs in a 10-1 win over the Seattle Mariners. He hit .301 in 147 games that season, with 41 doubles, 25 homers and 100 RBIs, the first of three straight seasons in which his OPS+ would be above 135. He finished 6th in the MVP vote, his second top 10 finish. But it was another quick postseason exit for Rendon, as the Nationals were defeated by the Chicago Cubs in the NLDS in 5 games; he went 3 for 17 with a double and a homer.

The Nationals fell back in the standings in 2018, but Rendon continued to be one of the most productive players in the majors, with a .308 average, a National League-leading 44 doubles, 24 homers and 92 RBIs. He then had his best season in 2019. Incredibly, he was named to the All-Star team for the first time that year, in spite of having had a string of excellent years before that. He once again led the NL in doubles with 24, and was the major league leader in RBIs with 126. Other numbers included a .319 batting average, 117 runs scored and 34 homers. He won a Silver Slugger Award for the second time and finished third in the MVP vote. The Nationals seemed to be out of the race by mid-May, but they made a tremendous turnaround, culminating in a great run in the postseason, going from hosting the Wild Card Game to winning the 2019 World Series in seven games over the Houston Astros. Rendon was a key cog in their machine, hitting over .400 in both the Division Series and the NLCS, and adding 3 doubles, a pair of homers and 8 RBIs in the World Series.

Following the World Series, both Rendon and World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg became free agents. The Nationals made it clear that while they wanted to retain both players, they would likely only have the money to re-sign one of them, and when they inked Strasburg to a huge deal on December 9th, it was clear that Rendon would not return. Indeed, on December 11th, word leaked that the Los Angeles Angels were about to sign Rendon to a seven-year contract worth $245 million, already the fourth free agent deal to top $100 million that off-season, following those of Strasburg, Zack Wheeler and Gerrit Cole. The deal was made official on December 13th. It was the largest free agent deal in Angels history, surpassing that given to Albert Pujols before the 2012 season. In his first season with the Angels in 2020, he was limited to 52 games because the Coronavirus pandemic cut the season to 60 games, but he did well, putting up an OPS+ of 150 by batting .286 with 9 homers and 31 RBIs. However, his performance went under the radar as the Angels never really were in contention for the postseason.

In 2021, he again played fewer than 60 games - 58 to be exact - but this time it was because of injuries that cut short his playing time. He was well below his usual standards when he did take the field, batting .240 with 6 homers and 34 RBIs, for an OPS+ of 94, in a season in which the Angels were again well out of the race in spite of the heroics of two-way player Shohei Ohtani, who won the MVP Award. Things were different at the start of 2022, however, as he was back healthy and so was Mike Trout, who had also missed the majority of the previous season due to injury. This time, the Angels got off to a strong start, even if he was hitting barely above .200 through the first five weeks. Not normally a switch-hitter, he managed to hit a homer from the left side in a game on May 10th: that was the day when rookie Reid Detmers pitched a no-hitter against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Angels had a comfortable 8-0 lead coming into the bottom of the 8th, and the Rays decided to sent OF Brett Phillips to the mound in a mop-up role, having already used five pitchers on the night. By the time Rendon came to bat, Trout had already hit a two-run homer off Phillips, and Ohtani had followed with a double; Rendon decided to face the usurper from the wrong side, but still managed to drive one of his pitches out of the yard to make the final score 12-0. It was the final highlight of his season, as the Angels soon went into a tailspin that cost manager Joe Maddon his job, and on May 28th, he went on the injured list with inflammation to his right wrist. He came back on June 10th, but played just 4 games, going 1 for 13 before he returned to the IL on June 17th. This time, he decided to have surgery on the troublesome wrist, ending his season. He was hitting .228 in 45 games, with 5 homers and 24 RBIs, for an OPS+ of 104. On June 26th, while on the injured list, he was in the middle of a bench-clearing brawl in a game against the Seattle Mariners and was issued a five-game suspension for his actions, to be served at the start of the following season.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NL All-Star (2019)
  • 2-time NL Silver Slugger Award Winner (2014 & 2019)
  • NL Runs Scored Leader (2014)
  • 2-time NL Doubles Leader (2018 & 2019)
  • NL RBIs Leader (2019)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 5 (2014 & 2016-2019)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2019)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 2 (2014 & 2019)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 2 (2017 & 2019)
  • Won one World Series with the Washington Nationals in 2019

Further Reading[edit]

  • Rhett Bollinger: "Rendon unfazed by quick ramp-up to season: Manager Joe Maddon praises third baseman's consistency", mlb.com, July 9, 2020. [1]
  • Rhett Bollinger: "Rendon to have season-ending wrist surgery", mlb.com, June 18, 2022. [2]
  • Jamal Collier: "The Nat-ural! Rendon: 6-for-6, 3 HRs, 10 RBIs: Third baseman's career game highlights Nats' record-setting outburst vs. Mets", mlb.com, April 30, 2017. [3]
  • Jamal Collier: "Amid torrid stretch, Rendon under the radar: Nats 3B quietly goes about his business, excelling with his bat and glove", mlb.com, May 25, 2017. [4]
  • Mark Feinsand: "Under-the-radar Rendon enjoying anonymity", mlb.com, September 27, 2017. [5]
  • Gabe Lacques: "In star-studded NL MVP race, Anthony Rendon may outlast his competition", USA Today, September 5, 2019. [6]
  • Gabe Lacques: "Can World Series hero Anthony Rendon help Mike Trout get there: 'It would be tremendous'", USA Today, March 9, 2020. [7]

Related Sites[edit]