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The Nationals’ Kevin Frandsen says Anthony Rendon is “the best young guy we have”

May 7, 2014, 1:22 PM EDT

Bryce Harper Getty Getty Images

Anthony Rendon is having a fantastic season so far. No doubt about that.

Nats’ utility guy Kevin Frandsen was on the D.C. radio show Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan this morning, and they asked him, of all the players on the team, who’s impressed him the most. Listen to who he mentioned as “the best young guy we have”

“Rendon,” Frandsen said. “Without a doubt.”

“He is as impressive as any young player; in all honesty, he’s the best young guy we have. By far,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anyone in the same sentence as him, as far as young guys.”

The hosts asked him specifically if he’s saying Rendon was better than Bryce Harper. This is the point in these kinds of interviews where the teammate will equivocate or talk about how it’s hard to choose or say they’re both awesome or something. But Frandsen stuck to his guns:

“Absolutely,” Frandsen said. “I would say that, because, this is a personal opinion, and watching it, and Tony, ah man, that is one of the coolest swings I’ve seen. And especially for, what is he, 23, 24-years-old?

“To be that consistent, to stay inside the baseball as consistently as he can, and to have that much pop. I don’t know how much the outside knows, but he hits balls farther than most people on the team. But he is so good, as far as staying inside and staying within himself, that just impresses me.

“And then moving from second to third, third back to second, second back to third, unbelievable. And his attitude, whether it’s a four-hit game, or 0-for-4, which rarely happens, it’s the same; it’s consistent; it’s just someone that you just enjoy watching all the time.”

Not a word about Harper. This a week after Tom Boswell — who reliably channels the messages of the Nationals front office — said that Harper may bt the Nats’ seventh best player and who said he’d be hard pressed to pick Harper over Rendon going forward.

Interesting.

  1. David Proctor - May 7, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    Pretty obvious that Frandsen is the one who was talking to Boz. Odd that a utility guy thinks he has the pull to talk like that.

    In fairness to Frandsen, he’s going off what he’s seen. And Harper wasn’t particularly hot this year at any point. Maybe his tune is different if Harper gets off to a start like he did last year. Nonetheless, it’s pretty dumb to say.

  2. goskinsvt - May 7, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    Rendon is the best player on the Nats right now, I’m not sure how you can say otherwise. That being said, the answer might be different 3 years from now. Either way, the Nats have a solid young core of players and if their biggest problem is ‘who is better, Harper or Rendon?’, they are in pretty good shape.

  3. echech88 - May 7, 2014 at 1:30 PM

    No dog in this fight but in Frandsen’s defense, they asked him this question after Bryce got off to a bad start and got hurt and while Rendon is on a hot streak.

    What is he going to say?

    • echech88 - May 7, 2014 at 1:31 PM

      Meant to mention that the media complains when players give non-answer answers where they just fall back on the same media-trained BS empty responses…only to then post articles like this and try to make a story out of it when they speak openly and honestly.

      Good for Frandsen. Who cares if he’s wrong, kudos to him for actually being real.

    • gatorprof - May 7, 2014 at 3:58 PM

      Bad start? The guys has a .289/.422/.773 slash line? While his power is a little down, this could hardly be called a bad start.

      • Jeremy T - May 7, 2014 at 4:24 PM

        Harper has a .289/.352/.422 slash line. Looks like you got Avg/Slg/OPS somehow instead of the more common Avg/OBP/Slg. The point stands, though. Harper’s start was far from bad.

  4. icanspeel - May 7, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    From the Nats perspective, if their best young player is NOT Bryce Harper, they should be pretty happy with that since 29 other teams would take Harper in a flash.

  5. El Bravo - May 7, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    Seems like they are testing the maturity of Harper, who will undoubtedly be asked about all of these comments. Why though? Seems like they are rocking the boat just because….

    • chc4 - May 7, 2014 at 1:40 PM

      Probably b/c they see something in Harper that they don’t like. Certain character traits that may prevent him from fully capitalizing on his talent. Let’s face it, Harper right now is a good player but nothing more. Whether it’s a work ethic issue or just a matter of maturing, we’ll see. Reminds me a little of the Jason Heyward hype. 5 years in we still hear about Heyward’s MVP/5 tool potential. At some point you realize a guy is just overhyped/not as good as advertised.

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - May 7, 2014 at 1:50 PM

        Who is still talking about Jason Heyward in the non-local media?

      • echech88 - May 7, 2014 at 1:55 PM

        Agreed.

        It’s unfortunate because guys like Harper, Heyward and I’d add Justin Upton are all very good players but the conversation is always about how they’re not doing enough or aren’t reaching their potential. It’s always about potential MVP-talk..not productive, perfectly fine player talk.

        Tough being a stud prospect at a time when guys like Trout and Fernandez arrive and are the real deal so quickly.

      • chc4 - May 7, 2014 at 1:56 PM

        Read some ESPN chats. Schoenfeld, Stark and others still think that MVP caliber player is in there somewhere. I do not.

      • paperlions - May 7, 2014 at 2:05 PM

        Why in the world would anyone ever read the chats of Shoenfield or Stark or take their opinions any more seriously than any other casual fan? Those guys are….well, more fan than analyst/scout. Of course, this highlights part of the problem with “MVP” voting, as those guys are among the more qualified of the voting pool.

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - May 7, 2014 at 2:23 PM

        Read some ESPN chats. Schoenfeld, Stark and others still think that MVP caliber player is in there somewhere. I do not.

        Explains why I haven’t seen them. Schoenfeld is a troll, and I tend to avoid those writers. Stark is a good writer, but his “analysis” leaves much to be desired.

        Heyward has almost 4 full seasons in the bigs not counting this year. His best year, by far, was his first year. If he can stay healthy, a big if, then maybe he can put up a couple more 5-6 rWAR seasons (just below MVP level), but what do those guys expect? He’s going to suddenly hit 40+ hr AND walk 100+ times AND play elite defense?

    • El Bravo - May 7, 2014 at 2:06 PM

      Bryce has had all types of injury issues thus far, and when he hasn’t, has been damn good. I expect that he will be MVP caliber or if not, really really good over his career. He’s still so damn young! Not sure why I’d stoke that fire unless they believe Bryce will play better b/c of his pure RAGE!!!!

  6. someguyinva - May 7, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    I don’t think there’s any shame in saying Rendon’s better than Harper (or anyone on that team) right now; the numbers don’t lie, as far as this year’s production goes.

    Then again, Rendon’s in his age 24 season (he’ll turn 24 next month), and Harper’s only in his age 21 season, so time will tell how they both pan out. Rendon was still at Rice during his age 21 season.

  7. DelawarePhilliesFan - May 7, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    So….yea….that was odd. Kinda blown away, actually.

    I will say – KF was a very well liked guy in the Phillies clubhouse. And as to the notion that he is basing it on this year alone……uhhhh….there are as yet undiscovered tribes in South America that have a full run down on who Harper is, he is not exactly an unknown entity. I think playing in the same division the last two years gave KF plenty to look at. Not saying he is right, just saying I think he can make an informed observation

    But still – I don’t at all see the point of saying that on air, and I really don’t see a point of doubling down when given a chance to balance the praise

    • paperlions - May 7, 2014 at 2:01 PM

      Sure, but if he was going to base his comments on more than he has seen since being in Washington, then he might notice that Harper has better career wRC+ (127 to 111), better career OBP (.353 to .332), better career SLG (.476 to .434), and better career BB rate (10.5 to 7.2)…all while posting positive defensive value (which is adjusted for position) compared to Rendon’s negative defensive value, and being 2+ years younger than Rendon.

      I am not saying that Rendon isn’t a promising young player, he is….but even based on what they have done so far, there isn’t any justification for thinking he is the better player based on skill set or the preponderance of evidence.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - May 7, 2014 at 2:24 PM

        My point (and surprise) is far less about who is better than who. I am saying he knows full well who Harper is, and he knows full well (more or less) everything you just stated. So why would he say that publically? And why would he stick with it when given a chance to back down?

        I don’t know the answer to that….but it is a suprise

      • paperlions - May 7, 2014 at 2:35 PM

        I agree that it is surprising that he said it…but I would bet a dozen donuts that he has no idea how good Harper has been in the past and is completely unaware of the importance of sample size and the difference between how good a player is and how well a player has performed over 5 weeks.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - May 7, 2014 at 3:08 PM

        To which I say – there is no one in the Western Hemisphere who has not been given an insane dose of Harper.

        You can say he is wrong, that is fine. But I can not at all fathom your line of thinking that he is unaware of what Harper has done in his career – as if KF showed up on March 29th saying “what’s that guys name again? Harker? I’ll have to watch what he does these next 3 weeks”

      • paperlions - May 7, 2014 at 3:17 PM

        Really?

        How many people blather on and on about Harper being over rated because he hasn’t been Mike Trout….despite Harper having historically great seasons for a 19 yr old and 20 yr old in MLB?

        The answer to that is a LOT of people…most exposure people get about Harper presents him as a disappointment in terms of baseball production…which, for his age, is 12 kinds of crazy.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - May 7, 2014 at 3:41 PM

        So you believe he just watched him for 3 weeks, and otherwise knows very little about him. Ok, gotcha

  8. sophiethegreatdane - May 7, 2014 at 1:50 PM

    [IMG]http://i.imgur.com/agJIP.gif[/IMG]

    • sophiethegreatdane - May 7, 2014 at 1:50 PM

      Dang!
      Oh well.

  9. truthbomb3636 - May 7, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    I don’t get the need to crown Harper so early. He has had very good years for his age, but this year Rendon has been better.

    Years down the road Harper may fulfill his lofty expectations but seems unfair to rush him or call out honest opinions that don’t slobber all over Bryce?

    Give him time, he will likely be a monster around age 25.

    • nbjays - May 7, 2014 at 2:03 PM

      As long as he’s not an A-Rod-esque monster.

  10. schmedley69 - May 7, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    For a utility guy who is hitting .262, Kevin Frandsen sure has done a lot of talking this week.

    • chc4 - May 7, 2014 at 2:11 PM

      He was asked a question and answered it. And that irritates you for some reason??

      • schmedley69 - May 7, 2014 at 2:21 PM

        The host should have asked him who the worst old player on the Nats is. The answer would be Kevin Frandsen.

    • djpostl - May 7, 2014 at 4:04 PM

      “For a utility guy who is hitting .262″ bla bla…

      List of guys NOT hitting .262 in MLB right now:

      Cespedes, Pence, Kemp, Jeter, Adam Jones, David Ortiz, Chris Davis, Wil Myers, Carlos Beltran, Billy Butler, Andre Ethier, Neil Walker, Chris Johnson, Salvadore Perez, Martin Prado, Alex Gordon, Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder, Jason Kipnis, Elvis Andrus, Jayson Heyward, Brian McCann, Nick Swisher, Asrubal Cabrera, Allen Craig, Pablo Sandoval, Carlos Santana, Mike Moustakas.

      A whole lotta of All-Stars not hitting a very resepctable .262 (pro-tip: offenses aren’t what they used to be for a variety of reason).

      • schmedley69 - May 7, 2014 at 4:27 PM

        pro-tip: Frandsen doesn’t have the track record of any of those guys. Most of those guys have actually had some semblance of a big league career. Frandsen doesn’t.

  11. disgracedfury - May 7, 2014 at 2:11 PM

    I can’t wait till Harper gets healthy and becomes a star and goes to the Yankees.Than the Nationals will complain how he left for money but in reality it’s koments like this.

    • mazblast - May 7, 2014 at 5:50 PM

      It wasn’t management that made the comments, it was a teammate. If Harper is going to be that thin-skinned (and I’m not saying he is), I don’t think the Yankees would be the right place for him.

  12. pinkfloydprism - May 7, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    and I will say it again… BRUCE HYPER!!!!

  13. Darkoestrada - May 7, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    Bryce Harper is still at a younger age than most players debut. He put up an almost 5 war season at an age where normal players would be overwhelmed at double A. Even last year, at his worst, while struggling with injuries, he was an above average regular. Harper hasn’t been dissapointing, he just hasn’t fully developed yet and he’s being held to the standard of mike trout which just isn’t reasonable. Rendon is a nice player but not really in the same class as Harper. Rendon has had a better first 150 at bats of this season. But judging players on 150 at bats is never a smart idea.

  14. goodellisruiningtheleague - May 7, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    Bryce is overrated just like his buddy on the other DC team…RG3

    Maybe Harper should create a logo

  15. gatorprof - May 7, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    I am often amazed by the stupidity of people, but to declare Rendon > Harper is silly right now. It may turn out that way, but I doubt it.

    Rendon hasn’t put together a full season where he was above replacement in value.

    Yes, it is just his second season and he is off to a nice start, but let’s not declare him HOF material just yet.

    It is very hard to get overly excited about a young 3B who logs a dWAR of -1.0 in < 100 games.

    I honestly don't know why people hate Harper so much. There is NO TEAM that wouldn't take him in a heart beat, especially at his 2.15M$ price tag. 21 other players on the Nats make more money than he does!

    Washington fans should enjoy him while he is there because if the fanbase keeps hammering him, he will go elsewhere when he can.

    Since when does a journeyman utility guy become a become of wisdom on judging players?

    • schmedley69 - May 7, 2014 at 3:32 PM

      There were people on here who declared Mike Trout a bust when he got off to a slow start last season.

      Kevin Frandsen should be grateful that he’s in the majors and keep his mouth shut. He hit .234 with a bad glove last season and he’s hitting .264 so far this season. Count your lucky stars, Kev.

    • emdash01 - May 8, 2014 at 6:34 AM

      Very few people in the fanbase don’t like him, and they’re mostly the old-school idiot types that every fanbase has a fair number of.

  16. djpostl - May 7, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    Boswell’s comments were pure asshattery ( I say that not being a big fan of Harper’s) but I have no issue with this.

    Yes, it’s an opinion but it’s a well thought out one where he talks about the young man’s power, his hitting technique, his attitude and the ability to change positions multiple times without so much as breaking stride.

  17. notsofast10 - May 7, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    Rendon was a Golden Spikes Award winner at Rice his Sophomore year. What is the shame in a player saying he is the best young player on the team right now. All the Harper offended people need some sensitivity training!!!!!

  18. scatterbrian - May 7, 2014 at 4:50 PM

    They should ask Frandsen who’s future he’d rather have.

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