Anthony Rendon rebounded nicely from his miserable, injury-plagued 2015, playing in a career-high 156 games and nearly duplicating his 2014 production. He also had his best defensive season at third base, and seems ready to settle in as a key part of a dangerous Nationals offense. The emergence of Trea Turner and the addition of Adam Eaton lock up the top two spots in the team's batting order, though, likely putting the 111 runs Rendon scored in 2014 out of reach. However, if he hits fifth behind the likes of Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy, he should top last year's career-high 85 RBI. His career-high 43.8 percent flyball rate in 2016 could be a sign that he's adding a little more loft to his line-drive swing. Until he proves he can string a couple of full campaigns together, health remains the biggest concern for Rendon, but if he can stay off the DL, the pieces appear to be in place for him to put forth another well-rounded campaign.
Rendon went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI in Tuesday's Grapefruit League game against the Red Sox. He's now hitting a snappy .438 (7-for-16) to begin the spring. Rendon was able to stay healthy in 2016 and put together a solid campaign that included a career-high 85 RBI, and if the 26-year-old has put his injury woes behind him, he has the talent -- and the lineup around him -- to take a big step forward in 2017.
Rendon went 2-for-3 with a double in Monday's Grapefruit League game against the Cardinals. Coming off his second career 20-home run season, the 26-year-old could be just entering his prime as a hitter. Rendon will need to stay healthy, something he's struggled with in the past, but if he stays on the field he could be poised to top the .824 OPS he recorded in 2014.
Rendon and the Nationals avoided arbitration with a one-year, $5.8 million deal, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. Rendon bounced back from a disappointing 2015 season with a solid .270/.348/.450 line and 20 home runs in 2016. He'll get a $3 million raise for that uptick, his second year in arbitration.
Rendon is not in the lineup for Sunday's regular-season finale against the Marlins, Mark Zuckerman of MASN Sports reports. Rendon had previously started 12 straight games but will get the day off Sunday as the Nationals prepare for their opening playoff game against the Dodgers on Friday. Stephen Drew will replace him at third base for the finale, batting fifth for the Nationals.
Rendon went 1-for-4 with a solo homer in Friday's 7-4 loss to the Marlins. The slugging third baseman took Andrew Cashner deep in the fourth with a 410-foot shot, putting the first run of the game up for the Nationals. Rendon has now hit safely in six of his last seven games and has a pair of homers and seven RBI over that span. He's also just one homer shy of equaling the career-high 21 he smacked in 2014, while his 85 RBI already represent a personal best.