Anthony Michael Rendon (//, born June 6, 1990) is an American baseball third baseman for the Washington Nationals of Major League Baseball (MLB). Rendon played college baseball for the Rice University Owls, where he won the 2010 Dick Howser Trophy. Rendon was selected sixth overall in the 2011 Major League Baseball draft by the Nationals.
Rendon with the Washington Nationals
|Washington Nationals – No. 6|
|Born: June 6, 1990|
|April 21, 2013, for the Washington Nationals|
|MLB statistics |
(through July 7, 2019)
|Runs batted in||482|
|Career highlights and awards|
Rendon is the second son of Rene and Bridget Rendon. His parents say Rendon started playing baseball at a very early age; hitting pine cones with sticks as early as the age of three. Rendon grew up on the southwest side of Houston and excelled academically and in sports. He was a star basketball player, track athlete, and baseball player at Hodges Bend Middle School. For the first two and a half years of high school, Rendon attended George Bush High School, before transferring to Lamar High School. As a senior, he was a first team 5A all-state shortstop and an All-Greater Houston selection by the Houston Chronicle after he hit .570 with eight home runs, 17 doubles, 56 Runs batted in, 56 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases. Out of high school, Rendon was drafted in the 27th round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Atlanta Braves. He turned down their signing bonus to play for Rice University and head coach Wayne Graham.
As a freshman in 2009, Rendon was named Baseball America's Freshman of the Year, All-America, Freshman All-American, NCBWA's District VII Player of the Year, NCAA All-Regional Team, Conference USA Player of the Year, All-Conference USA (first team), Conference USA All-Tournament Team, and MVP of the Silver Glove Series with cross-town rival, University of Houston. As a true freshman, he hit .388 with 20 home runs and 72 runs batted in, starting in all 61 of the Owls' games. Rendon was also nominated for both the Dick Howser Trophy and the Golden Spikes Award in his first season at the college level. He led the conference in numerous offensive categories, including batting average, slugging percentage and home runs, setting a new Rice freshmen record at 20. He added 31 walks to his already gaudy offensive numbers, giving him a .496 on-base percentage. In addition to his batting prowess, he stole 9 bases in 11 attempts, two away from leading the team, and showed defensive ability at third base as well; ending the year with a .945 fielding percentage. However, in Rice's last game, in the Baton Rouge Super Regional, Rendon suffered an ankle injury that required surgery.
As a sophomore in 2010, he was the winner of the Dick Howser Trophy and was Baseball America's College Player of the Year, becoming the first underclassman in a decade to win the award. Additionally, he was named the Rawlings Sporting Goods National Player of the Year, Conference USA Male Athlete of the Year, District VII Player of the Year, First Team All-American, All-south Region, Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Austin Regional, All-Conference USA, All-Conference USA Tournament, and Conference USA Academic Honor Roll. He is also only the second player to be named Conference USA Player of the Year twice. He finished the season hitting .394 with 26 home runs and 85 runs batted in, again starting in every one of the Owls' 63 games. Rendon's 26 home runs were the second highest single season total in school history; the only other Owl to hit more home runs in a year was Lance Berkman. In his sophomore campaign, Rendon hit more home runs (26) than he struck out (22), and his walks (65) nearly tripled his strike out total. Again, Rendon flashed the leather, raising his fielding percentage to .978, making only four errors all season at third base. After his Rice season ended, Rendon was invited to represent his country playing on the international circuit for Team USA. He suffered another right ankle injury in the first game against South Korea.
Rendon was selected sixth overall by the Washington Nationals in the 2011 Major League Baseball draft. Following the 2012 season, many scouts rated Rendon as the best prospect in the Nationals organization and one of the top prospects in the MLB.
Rendon started the 2013 season with the Double-A Harrisburg Senators. He was called up by the Washington Nationals on April 20 when Ryan Zimmerman was placed on the disabled list. Rendon was optioned back to the Harrisburg Senators when Zimmerman came off the disabled list on May 3.
Rendon was recalled by the Nationals on June 4, 2013, and replaced second baseman Danny Espinosa. Days later, on June 15, Rendon clubbed his first major league home run off Vinnie Pestano of the Cleveland Indians. The ninth-inning solo shot put the Nationals on top and they won 7–6.
Rendon finished the season with the Nationals, putting up a .265/.329/.396 triple slash with seven home runs across 98 games with the major league club.
After playing mostly second base the previous year, Rendon was moved back to his "natural position" as the Nationals' third baseman in the 2014 season. The year would be a breakout one for Rendon, who led the National League in runs scored with 111 while putting up a .287/.351/.473 slash line, hitting 21 home runs and stealing 17 bases over the course of the season. Rendon placed fifth in National League Most Valuable Player voting and was awarded a Silver Slugger for his performance as a top-hitting third baseman. He ranked second among National League position players in wins above replacement, just behind Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
While Rendon emerged as a key cog in the Nationals' offense during the season, his prowess in the playoffs was noteworthy as well, as he hit .368 in the 2014 National League Division Series against the San Francisco Giants.
The 2015 Washington Nationals season got off to a rough start for Rendon, as he sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee early during spring training in Viera, Florida, and then strained an oblique muscle while on a rehab assignment with the Class-AA Harrisburg Senators, being shut down on May 4. Rendon finally returned to major league action on June 4, 2015, but found himself moved back to second base, with the job of everyday third baseman being held down by new acquisition Yunel Escobar.
Rendon was part of a spectacular defensive play in an August 15, 2015, game against the San Francisco Giants. A sharp grounder off the bat of Brandon Crawford was deflected off the glove of first baseman Clint Robinson, caroming high into the air. Playing deep on the infield shift, Rendon made a barehand grab on the deflected ball and fired to pitcher Felipe Rivero, who gloved it while diving across the first base bag to retire Crawford. Giants broadcasters Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow described the play as one of the greatest they had ever seen.
All in all, Rendon played in just 80 regular-season games in 2015 and put up a .264/.344/.363 slash line. His power was noticeably sapped following the oblique injury, as he hit just five home runs over the course of the season.
Rendon returned to form with a batting line over the course of the 2016 Washington Nationals season closely mimicking his 2014 campaign, hitting .270/.348/.450 with 20 home runs. He avoided spending any time on the disabled list, appearing in all but six regular-season games for the Nationals and exclusively playing third base, with Escobar traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the off-season.
On September 6, 2016, Rendon hit his first career grand slam off Williams Perez. The four-run clout provided the Nationals with a winning margin of victory over the division rival Atlanta Braves in the 9–7 contest.
Rendon was invited to play for Mexico in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, for which he was eligible because his father is of Mexican descent, but he declined to do so, saying he preferred to participate in spring training with the Nationals.
On April 30, 2017, Rendon went 6-for-6 with three home runs and 10 RBI in a 23–5 win over the division rival New York Mets. He became the 13th major leaguer with 10 or more RBI in one game while setting a Nationals record. He became the third player in major league history attain both six hits and ten RBI in the same game, following Jim Bottomley (1924) and Walker Cooper (1949).
Despite leading all National League position players in wins above replacement during the first half of the season, Rendon was not selected to participate in the All-Star Game. He was one of the options in the "final vote" but lost out to Justin Turner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Despite the All-Star snub, Rendon was named as Player of the Week in the National League on July 17, 2017, for the week abbreviated by the All-Star break. It was his first time so honored. Rendon hit .636 during the week with three home runs to earn the award.
Rendon is frequently described by sports media as quiet and self-effacing, qualities that when combined with his strong all-around offensive and defensive performance as an infielder for the Washington Nationals have led some, including 2016–17 Nationals manager Dusty Baker, to dub him one of the most "underrated" players in Major League Baseball. Explaining his philosophy on baseball to The Washington Post during spring training in 2017, Rendon said, "Obviously, I want to win, but at the same time, at the end of the day, it’s a game and that’s what I’m going to treat it as." He claimed in a 2014 interview with the Post that he prefers watching the History channel to baseball, calling the sport "too long and boring".
On July 26, 2018, Rendon and wife Amanda welcomed their first child, Emma. Rendon took leave from the Nationals for several days to attend to the birth.
Rendon and Nationals shortstop Trea Turner have attracted some media attention with what some sportswriters described as a "bromance", describing one another in interviews as "my favorite player" and even showing up to a June 2017 batting practice at Nationals Park wearing T-shirts with each other's faces under the "favorite player" motto. "He’s special and we’re good friends, so I joke with him a lot. It’s kind of a joke we have, but at the same time, he’s a really good player," Turner explained to a Washington Post reporter.
An avid basketball fan, Rendon follows the Houston Rockets, his hometown NBA team. He has maintained close ties to the Houston area. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, Rendon and Nationals teammate Matt Albers, a fellow Houstonian, set up a YouCaring fundraiser page to raise money for donations to the Houston Food Bank.
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For the first time in a decade, Baseball America's College Player of the Year is an underclassman.
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- Tinsman, Brian (August 29, 2017). "D.C. Athletes Donate, Raise Money for Harvey Relief". CBS DC. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
- Albers, Matt; Rendon, Anthony. "Houston Area Flood Relief Fund". YouCaring.com. Archived from the original on August 30, 2017. Retrieved August 30, 2017.