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No, Anthony Rendon isn’t making the Nationals’ Opening Day roster

Mar 2, 2013, 9:08 AM EDT

Anthony Rendon AP AP

With Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals have two of the most exciting young players in the sport. Which makes it all the more impressive that the sweet-swinging Anthony Rendon has drawn so much attention this spring. But we’re going to have to wait a little while for his major league debut.

Rendon, selected No. 6 overall by the Nationals in 2011, is hitting .385 (5-for-13) with a home run, two doubles and five RBI over six games during Grapefruit League play. The hot start led to Nationals manager Davey Johnson being asked yesterday whether there could be a scenario where he could make the team’s Opening Day roster. According to Dan Kolko of, Johnson shot that question down as only he can.

“No. He needs the reps. He needs to go play,” Johnson responded, before cracking a smile. “We’ve only had five or six games, holy moly. You’re crowning him the next savior?

“Jeez. You’re awful.”

Johnson’s response is understandable, as Rendon was limited to just 43 games in the minors last season due to an ankle injury. The 22-year-old could really benefit by making it through an entire season healthy while getting regular at-bats. Besides, with Ryan Zimmerman at third base, Danny Espinosa at second base and Ian Desmond at shortstop, it’s not like there’s a place for him in the starting lineup with the big club.

Rendon’s time will come, either through injury or perhaps later this year as a September call-up. And when it happens, the Nationals have a chance to be even better. It’s a scary thought.

  1. dondada10 - Mar 2, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    With their system and their bankroll, the Nationals aren’t going anywhere for a long time.

    • paul621 - Mar 2, 2013 at 10:01 AM

      “And their bankroll”– It’s nice to be able to say that about the Nats. For a few years, you couldn’t be sure that would be the case. I’d have to say, the Lerner’s are looking pretty smart right about now, after ticking off a lot of people with those tiny payrolls the first few years.

  2. natslady - Mar 2, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    I love me some Anthony Rendon (and so does hitting coach Rick Eckstein, who described Rendon’s swing as a “work of art in motion”), but it’s SPRING TRAINING, people. Baseball Reference has this new feature where they grade the quality of opponents. After his first 5 games, for Rendon, it was at 7.6 where 7 is AA pitchers and 8 is AAA-pitchers. He came in the game late yesterday, too; with a walk and a flyout against Atlanta’s, um, not-best pitchers.

    • dwdive - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:03 PM

      exactly, everyone calm down, the guy hit .273 in 25 minor league games, and has played 6 spring training games.

    • Mark - Mar 2, 2013 at 1:31 PM

      I agree with you about the fact that in general ST stats over such a short period of time don’t tell us much information. However, your point about the BR quality of opponents actually hurts your argument, because Rendon has a grand total of 68 AB in AA and none in AAA. So the fact he’s hitting well against AA/AAA competition is fairly impressive given that he hasn’t had much minor league seasoning and hasn’t proven he can hit AA/AAA pitching consistently.

      But yeah, it’s silly to expect him to do well in the majors based on how he’s done in ST.

    • stex52 - Mar 2, 2013 at 1:38 PM

      I’d like to see him do well. A product of my alma mater. No question he can hit. But he has already had more than his share of leg injuries.

  3. malvord13 - Mar 2, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    Throw him at first when his time comes

  4. kelshannon19 - Mar 2, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    My only claim to fame ..He hit a bomb off me in high school. Gotta start somewhere right?

  5. spudchukar - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Yep, if you are a Phillie, Marlin, or Met fan get used to lookin’ up at the Nats.

  6. jlovenotjlo - Mar 2, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    I’ve been half-assedly following Rendon since his college days. I really think he’s going to have an excellent, long career as long as he stays healthy. Perhaps even an election into the Hall of Very Good.

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