BPro on Rendon as a 3B
Anthony Rendon (Nationals)
The case for: Even though he has yet to play a professional game, Rendon’s combination of tools and polish make him the face of the position. At the plate, the native Texan (another plus attribute) is able to generate tremendous bat speed; his hands and hips work at near elite levels, and his raw strength is above average. Rendon’s hit tool projects to be plus-plus (70 grade)—which should allow him to become a perennial .300 hitter—with the overall approach to work counts, set up favorable hitting counts, and reach base at a high clip. His power potential ranges from average to plus, with a swing that some believe is better suited for gap-to-gap power, rather than a swing with the necessary loft and backspin to produce 25-plus homers per season without selling out his approach.
In the field, Rendon projects as an above-average defender at third, with both the leather and arm grading out as plus tools, and the instincts necessary to bring the physical package together. Speed isn’t a part of Rendon’s game, but his feet aren’t heavy, and he shows good first-step quickness and reactions. Despite not being a physical force, Rendon has all the attributes necessary to become an All-Star talent at the hot corner, with the ability to hit for average, reach base, hit for some power, and play above-average defense. It remains to be seen if Rendon ends up at third base for the Nationals, but that’s a byproduct of organizational depth, not a developmental deficiency in Rendon’s skill set.
The case against: The injury elephant. If you assume health, Rendon was arguably the top player available in the 2011 draft, a polished dual threat on the fast track to the majors. But the medicals obviously scared some teams off, and the health component [read: the ability to stay on the field] will be a concern until it isn’t. That’s as reductive as you can get, but it’s really that simple. A healthy Rendon has the potential to be a well above-average major leaguer, but he’s not going to stay on the top of any tier if his body isn’t ready for the physical challenge.