Results tagged ‘ Anthony Rendon ’
On our second day here in Viera, we snuck over to the minor league complex a few hundred yards north of Space Coast Stadium to catch up with some of the up-and-comers in camp. We spoke with pitchers Alex Meyer and Danny Rosenbaum as well as outfielders Michael Taylor and Destin Hood, then followed up with infielder Anthony Rendon in big league camp. We’ll be providing full prospect watch pieces (as we did with Tyler Moore) on each of them in the weeks and months to come, but in the meantime, we spoke with Rendon about what he’s learned his first couple days in camp.
For those unfamiliar with Rendon, he was the Nationals’ first-round pick last year’s First-Year Player Draft, going sixth overall. Many insiders considered the Rice University junior to have the best bat in the Draft, after he hit 26 home runs and drew 65 walks while striking out just 22 times in his sophomore season. The 21-year-old is experiencing his first Spring Training starting this week and soaking in the experience.
Curly W Live: It’s your first camp. How is it coming in and being a professional for the first time? Do you feel like a professional yet?
Anthony Rendon: Yeah, I guess so, I’m out of college (laughing). It’s a great experience down here, I wasn’t expecting this much, but everybody’s been pretty nice to me. I’ve had a lot of free time, but everything’s been scheduled out pretty good. I’m just happy to get into a routine.
CWL: Who were you most excited to meet and start working with?
AR: I was excited to meet everybody in the Nationals organization as a whole. If I’m going to be part of this organization for a long time, I’ve got to get used to everybody.
CWL: How much anticipation was there for you to get down here and start playing?
AR: I was really excited. I haven’t been playing for a long time. You know, the offseason really kills you. You start getting that itch, once you see the high school kids start to play, then the college kids start to play. You see your old teammates playing and you have to wait another week or so to start playing. So I was really excited to get down here and get started.
CWL: What are you looking to accomplish in your first professional season?
AR: I’m just trying to get used to everything, trying to get into a routine. I want to be out there every day, trying to be an everyday player throughout the whole season. I just want to play 130 games, or however many games I play. Because I know I’ve had a history of missing out, I want to try to leave that in the past and move forward.
CWL: Have any of the veterans tried to help you out at all?
AR: I talked to a couple of the guys, I told (Chad) Tracy and (Adam) LaRoche, “I need tips for the first Spring Training”. They told me to just stay quiet and be observant, just try to take everything in and not try to do too much. Take it easy, don’t try to go out there and showboat, just try to be the first guy out here and get used to it.
Stay tuned through the weekend, as we’ll have coverage of a very special event here at Space Coast Stadium. In advance of the second annual Wounded Warrior Amputee Celebrity Softball Classic (check out highlights from last year’s event here), following the Nationals-Red Sox exhibition game at Nationals Park on April 3, the team will join Nats at Spring Training. This Friday and Saturday the team will visit Space Coast Stadium in Viera to work out and meet with Nationals players in preparation for the Celebrity Softball Classic. More on that and everything else happening here at Nationals Spring Training coming up later this week.
Ed. Note: Here at Curly W Live, we will be taking a closer look at some of the top up-and-coming prospects in the Nationals farm system throughout the 2012 season. Make sure to vote in our poll at the end of this article to help determine which player we will profile next.
There have been plenty of heralded prospects making their way up the ranks of the Nationals farm system over the last few years. Strong, talent-rich drafts have stocked Washington’s minor league affiliates to the point that prior to the Gio Gonzalez trade – which sent four of the club’s top 13-rated prospects to the Oakland Athletics – Baseball America had the Nationals ranked as the top overall minor league system in the game heading into 2012. Even after that deal, there are plenty of big names left, led of course by Bryce Harper. Those who keep their eyes on the minors will get their first glimpse of the likes of Anthony Rendon and the first regular season action for Matt Purke, who made his professional debut in the Arizona Fall League. These few will dominate the headlines, but we begin this season’s slate with one of the most promising power hitters in the system, Tyler Moore.
At the minor league level, where seasons are shorter and younger players are still filling out their athletic frames, large power totals are rare. In fact, only 15 minor leaguers hit 30 or more home runs in 2011, and only two have turned the trick in each of the last two years. The first name may ring a bell: Paul Goldschmidt. He was the rookie phenom who, after swatting 35 longballs for Double-A Mobile, was called up in September and played a key role in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ run to the National League West crown. The other player was Moore, a soft-spoken first baseman who, even after such an impressive two-year run, still does not appear in Baseball America’s top 10 prospect list for the Nationals.
Ranking or no ranking, that kind of power will earn you some respect and, in Moore’s case, some investment from the organization. The slugger was added to the 40-Man Roster in November, along with Eury Perez, Jhonatan Solano and the recently traded Derek Norris, to prevent him from being selected by another club in the annual Rule V Draft.
“This was his protection year,” explained Doug Harris, the Nationals Director of Player Development. “With power being a premium in today’s game, we felt like it was an easy decision for us.”
While Harris was not yet with the organization back when Moore first came into the system, he saw him as an opposing player while Harris was with the Cleveland Indians and Moore was at Low-A Hagerstown in 2008.
“As an opposing scout watching him, he was a guy that could always impact the baseball,” recalled Harris. “When he was in Hagerstown, it was really pole-to-pole power. Really his best power was to right-center, which is a true indicator of a guy who has a chance to come into bigger power down the road. So you saw glimpses of it, and I think a lot of the doubles he hit in Hagerstown got turned into home runs over the last couple of years.”
After hitting 30 two-baggers but just nine home runs in 111 games at Hagerstown in 2009, Moore got off to a rough start his next season at High-A Potomac. In 79 games through July 12, he had collected 47 RBI, but was batting just .191. Moore made an adjustment, though, and turned his season around completely. Over his final 50 contests, he went a staggering 76-for-193 (.394) with 21 home runs and 64 RBI. He would go on to lead the Carolina League in home runs (31), RBI (111), doubles (43), slugging percentage (.552), extra-base hits (77) and total bases (277), earning both league MVP honors and the Nationals Organizational Player of the Year. Moore put together another impressive campaign last year in the pitcher-friendly Eastern League, where he matched his home run total of 31, and again lead the league in RBI, extra-base hits and total bases.
In fact, in 189 games played since his remarkable turnaround, the 6’2”, 210-pound righty has swatted 52 home runs and driven in 154.
“When you break down the 2010 season that he had at Potomac…he really came into his own in the second half,” explained Harris. “It’s a credit to him. He’s a tireless worker, he never wavered in his approach or his intent day-to-day, and it really speaks volumes about who he is.”
Like many sluggers with such impressive power numbers, Moore also racks up his fair share of strikeouts, averaging 125 K’s over the past three seasons. However, he has also batted a very respectable .277 over that same stretch and it’s hard to argue with the run production.
Clearly, the Nationals have seen something in Moore’s potential ever since he was just a prep player at Northwest Rankin High School in Brandon, Mississippi. They actually drafted him on three separate occasions: in the 41st round straight out of high school in 2005, in the 33rd round after a year at Meridian Junior College in 2006, and finally in the 16th round after two years at Mississippi State in 2008. Moore signed at last, and has spent each of the last four seasons at a different level of the farm system, slowly playing his way up to Double-A in 2011. Now, as he enters his first big league camp in Florida, Moore will face new pressures and expectations from the Nationals staff. So, just how high is Moore’s ceiling?
“I think a lot of that is really up to Tyler,” said Harris. “He’s obviously put together two very productive years back-to-back. He’s going to be given an opportunity at a higher level and a chance to continue to show what he’s capable of doing. I know that our Major League staff is excited to get a glimpse of him in Spring Training.”
As for how Moore will respond to the challenge, Harris is not worried.
“Tyler is a very high-character young man, a tremendous teammate,” said Harris. “He’s an early-to-the-ballpark kind of guy. He blends with every mix of player. He’s a quiet leader, not a big-time vocal leader, but he’s got a great presence and he’s very well-liked amongst his teammates.”
Those traits should serve him well, as Harris suggested that the coaching staff may try Moore out at several defensive positions to see where he can best fit into the Nationals’ future plans. Originally drafted as a third baseman, he has played exclusively at first base (or been a designated hitter) in his 448 career minor league games. Harris said the staff has tried him in the outfield a bit as well, and that they will continue to “kick the tires” on that experiment moving forward. Either way, it will just be one more adjustment, something Moore has shown that he’s good at making.
“There’s an adjustment period going to a new level each year,” said Harris. “I know that he’s preparing himself to be ready to go out of the gate this year. He’s a kid that’s had to earn everything he’s got.”
While Moore seems destined for Syracuse in April, if he is able to find similar success at the Triple-A level in 2012 as he has the past two years, fans in the District may get a glimpse of him before the year is out.
There is something refreshingly cathartic about the cycle of years and seasons. The end of the old always brings with it the beginning of a new era, another chance to be better than before. While this is true of every baseball season, it is no stretch to say that the buzz — the excitement, the energy, the hope — that is floating around the 2012 Nationals is unlike anything that Washington has seen since the team moved to The District in 2005.
This hope does not come without good reason. There is the prospect of a healthy Stephen Strasburg electrifying the top of the rotation every five days. He will be followed by two more dynamic, budding stars in Jordan Zimmermann and the recently acquired Gio Gonzalez, all three 26 years-old or younger. Solid, sturdy veterans Chien-Ming Wang and John Lannan will be in the mix with the promising Ross Detwiler, bringing stability to the back end of the starting staff.
From there, another set of power arms takes over in the bullpen, led by 2011 All-Star Tyler Clippard and anchored by closer Drew Storen, who in his rookie campaign became just the second National ever to notch 40 saves in a season. Add in flamethrower Henry Rodriguez, who regularly touches triple digits on the radar gun, and you’ve got three more exciting arms, again all under the age of 27.
In the lineup, the Nationals will look for a healthy year from Ryan Zimmerman. DC’s under-the-radar superstar began last season hot before suffering an abdominal strain that hampered his production throughout the year. Still just 27 years of age, the third baseman will look to return to his form of the previous five seasons, during which he averaged 37 doubles, 23 home runs and 89 RBI while playing in an average of 145 games.
Jayson Werth, meanwhile, will look to reestablish himself as the player who received MVP votes in each of his two seasons prior to joining the Nationals. While he reached the 20-home run plateau for the fourth consecutive season in 2011, a return to form across the board in his numbers would make the middle of the Nationals lineup that much more formidable to opposing pitching staffs.
Joining that pair will be 2011’s breakout star, Michael Morse. The numbers don’t lie — Morse hit .303 with 36 doubles, 31 home runs, 95 RBI and a .550 slugging percentage. But to understand just how good Morse’s season was, consider the following: he had more doubles and home runs than Troy Tulowitzki, and a higher slugging percentage than Albert Pujols (see for yourself). In fact, besides the NL MVP, Morse was the only player in the National League to bat over .300 with 35 or more doubles, 30 or more home runs and a slugging percentage of .550 or better. The return of “The Beast” to the middle of the lineup should be a welcome sight for Nats fans everywhere.
Another returnee for 2012 who impressed last year was rookie infielder Danny Espinosa, who will look to build on the power potential he flashed during his 21-home run performance last season. Coupled with the slick glove work he often showed at second base, the former Long Beach State shortstop may just prove he owns that rare combination of being a versatile middle infielder with pop from both sides of the plate. Oh, and he won’t turn 25 until after Opening Day.
Even after trading four prospects to the Oakland Athletics in the Gonzalez deal, there is still plenty of talent waiting in the wings, ready to contribute in the future. Top prospects like lefthander Matt Purke and infielder Anthony Rendon are poised to join Bryce Harper in the years to come, but that discussion is for another time.
While the future remains very bright for this team, make no mistake, the window has officially opened. With the Gonzalez trade, EVP of Baseball Operations and GM Mike Rizzo not only added one of the premiere left-handed power arms in the game, he announced that he is not waiting for some distant tomorrow to contend.
“Gio’s ample talents are well known and chronicled,” said Rizzo after inking the lefty to a five-year extension on Sunday. “Now both Gio and our fans can shift their focus and excitement to his debut in DC knowing that their relationship won’t be ending in the short term.”
Of course, the road will not be easy. With the flurry of acquisitions made by the new Miami Marlins, the NL East has improved to the point of challenging its American League counterpart as the toughest division in baseball. And speaking of that AL East, the Nats will draw the perennial powerhouse in Interleague Play this year, making the schedule that much tougher. The good news is, should Washington survive this gauntlet and (gasp!) force its way into the picture for the potentially expanding postseason field, this young Nationals squad will have already faced the toughest teams in the league.
If you’ve been following the Nats from the beginning, your best days certainly appear to be ahead of you. If 2012 marks the beginning of your fandom, then welcome. Strap yourself in and enjoy the ride.
Yesterday evening, the Nationals formally introduced their top three draft picks to the media, as well as to Nats fans everywhere via MASN. Third baseman Anthony Rendon, right-handed pitcher Alex Meyer and outfielder Brian Goodwin sat on a panel that included general manager Mike Rizzo and the players’ agent, Scott Boras.
The draftees agreed that signing with the Nationals was an incredible experience for all of them, and coming to the Nation’s Capital for the first time was just as memorable. The earthquake that happened shortly after 2 p.m. made the visit that much more unique.
Rizzo said that the three young men will fly out this week to begin their professional careers in Viera, Fla., at the Nats’ spring training facility.
In case you missed seeing the press conference on MASN yesterday, you can listen to it in its entirety here.
Audio from the conference call with Rendon: Anthony Rendon
In a first round dominated by pitchers, Anthony Rendon stands out. The Rice University third baseman was taken with the sixth overall pick in this year’s First-Year Player Draft by the Nationals.
Rendon hit .371 with 52 homers and 194 RBI in 187 games during his time at Rice. He posted an on-base percentage of .505 during his career. Given those stats, it should come as no surprise that he’s a semifinalist for both this year’s Howser Trophy and Golden Spikes Award. Rendon won the Howser Trophy last year after hitting .394 with 26 home runs and 85 RBI as a sophomore. He was rated the top position player in this year’s draft by Baseball America.
Rendon was previously drafted out of high school by the Atlanta Braves in the 27th round, but turned that down in order to attend Rice.
What’s curious about Rendon is his position—third base. With Gold Glove and Silver Slugger-recipient Ryan Zimmerman at the hot corner for the foreseeable future, it’s hard to imagine anyone else taking over that position. As soon as he was drafted, there was immediate speculation that Rendon would be shifted to second base—but with Danny Espinosa providing solid defense so far and some pop in his bat, do Nationals fans really want to lose him?
Regardless of his position, it’s obvious that Rendon will succeed both offensively and defensively. During his sophomore year at Rice he made only four errors for an astounding .978 fielding percentage and scouts have made it clear in their reports that he’ll be able to hit Major League pitching. Rendon will hopefully develop into the kind of impact player that Washington needs as they strive to become a contender.
Alex Meyer, RHP, University of Kentucky
Audio from the conference call with Meyer: Alex Meyer
Adding to a farm system already rich with strong arms, the Nationals selected right-handed pitcher Alex Meyer 23rd overall. The University of Kentucky pitcher was Washington’s second draft pick after power-hitting third baseman Anthony Rendon was taken sixth overall. Many had speculated that the Nationals would take Meyer with that No. 6 pick. Seventeen picks later, they got their man.
With a fastball clocked in the upper 90s, Meyer garnered interest from scouts this past college season when he struck out 110 batters in 101 innings while posting a 2.94 ERA. In 10 starts against his conference competition this season, he won five decisions and pitched three complete games. Meyer is an intimidating figure on the mound, standing at 6-foot-9—but if he makes the Majors with the Nationals, he’d still only be the third-tallest pitcher in Nats/Expos franchise history (behind Jon Rauch and Randy Johnson, who both stood at 6-10). Aside from his scorching fastball, he also has a plus slider and changeup.
Meyer was first drafted out of high school by the Red Sox in the 20th round in 2008, but he opted to go to college instead.
NATIONALS’ SELECTIONS IN 2011 MLB FIRST-YEAR PLAYER DRAFT
RD PICK PLAYER POS B/T HT WT DOB SCHOOL
1 6 Anthony Rendon 3B R/R 6-0 190 6/6/90 Rice Univ. (TX)
1 23 Alex Meyer RHP R/R 6-9 220 1/3/90 Univ. of Kentucky
S 34 Brian Goodwin OF L/L 6-1 195 11/2/90 Miami Dade College (FL)
3 96 Matt Purke LHP L/L 6-3 175 7/17/90 Texas Christian Univ.
4 127 Kylin Turnbull LHP L/L 6-5 200 9/12/89 Santa Barbara CC (CA)
5 157 Matt Skole 3B L/R 6-3 230 7/30/89 Georgia Tech Univ.
6 187 Taylor Hill RHP R/R 6-3 225 3/12/89 Vanderbilt Univ. (TN)
7 217 Brian Dupra RHP R/R 6-3 205 12/15/88 Notre Dame Univ. (IN)
8 247 Greg Holt RHP R/R 6-2 200 6/19/89 Univ. of North Carolina
9 277 Dixon Anderson RHP R/R 6-6 225 7/2/89 Univ. of California-Berkley
10 307 Manny Rodriguez RHP R/R 6-2 225 1/12/89 Barry Univ. (FL)
11 337 Caleb Ramsey OF L/R 6-3 210 10/7/88 Univ. of Houston (TX)
12 367 Blake Monar LHP L/L 6-2 205 6/16/89 Indiana Univ.
13 397 Blake Kalenkosky 1B R/R 6-0 204 10/28/89 Texas State Univ.
14 427 Cody Stubbs OF L/R 6-3 215 1/14/91 Walters State CC (TN)
15 457 Zach Houchins SS R/R 6-3 185 9/16/92 Louisburg JC (NC)
16 487 Deion Williams SS R/R 6-3 185 11/11/92 Redan HS (GA)
17 517 Esteban Guzman RHP R/R 6-4 220 2/15/90 San Jose State Univ. (CA)
18 547 Nicholas Lee LHP L/L 6-1 190 1/31/91 Weatherford College (TX)
19 577 Hawtin Buchannan RHP L/R 6-8 245 4/29/93 Biloxi HS (MS)
20 607 Josh Laxer RHP R/R 6-1 190 6/7/93 Madison Central HS (MS)
21 637 Todd Simko LHP L/L 6-4 225 12/5/88 Texas A&M Univ.-C.C.
22 667 Travis Henke RHP R/R 6-6 250 7/9/88 Univ. of Arkansas-Little Rock
23 697 Khayyan Norfork 2B R/R 5-10 190 1/19/89 Univ. of Tennessee
24 727 Kyle Ottoson LHP L/L 6-2 165 7/11/90 Arizona State Univ.
25 757 Erick Fernandez C R/R 5-11 190 11/30/88 Georgetown Univ. (DC)
26 787 Shawn Pleffner OF L/R 6-5 225 8/17/89 Univ. of Tampa (FL)
27 817 Bobby Lucas LHP L/L 6-4 220 8/12/87 George Washington (DC)
28 847 Kenneth Ferrer RHP R/R 6-1 220 12/13/89 Elon Univ. (NC)
29 877 Sean Cotton C R/R 6-2 210 11/15/88 Tusculum College (TN)
30 907 Bryan Harper LHP L/L 6-6 210 12/29/89 Univ. of South Carolina
31 937 Josh Tobias SS S/R 5-9 200 11/23/92 Southeast Guilford HS (NC)
32 967 Billy Burns OF R/R 5-9 170 8/30/89 Mercer Univ. (GA)
33 997 Trey Karlen 2B R/R 5-11 195 4/23/88 Univ. of Tennessee-Martin
34 1027 Calvin Drummond RHP R/R 6-3 200 9/22/89 Univ. of San Diego (CA)
35 1057 Alex Kreis RHP R/R 6-1 210 1/1/89 Jamestown College (ND)
36 1087 Ben Hawkins LHP L/L 6-0 180 11/4/89 Univ. of West Florida
37 1117 Derrick Bleeker RHP R/R 6-5 220 3/11/91 Howard College (TX)
38 1147 Brett Mooneyham LHP L/L 6-5 245 1/24/90 Stanford Univ. (CA)
39 1177 Peter Verdin OF R/R 6-0 205 3/19/90 Univ. of Georgia
40 1207 Stephen Collum OF R/R 6-3 185 3/7/92 Cartersville HS (GA)
41 1237 Bryce Ortega 3B R/R 5-10 165 9/22/88 Univ. of Arizona
42 1267 David Kerian SS S/R 6-2 185 2/9/93 Bishop Heelan HS (IA)
43 1297 Mitchell Morales SS L/R 5-10 150 3/3/93 Wellington Community HS
44 1327 Matt Snyder 1B L/R 6-6 210 6/17/90 Univ. of Mississippi
45 1357 Ritchie Mirowski RHP R/R 6-2 190 4/30/89 Oklahoma Baptist Univ.
46 1387 Tyler Thompson OF L/R 6-1 185 8/4/89 Univ. of Florida
47 1417 Timothy Montgomery LHP R/L 6-5 195 3/13/93 Rockmart HS (GA)
48 1447 Michael Bisenius OF L/R 6-3 215 10/29/88 Wayne State College (NE)
49 1477 Hunter Cole OF R/R 6-1 185 10/3/92 Dorman HS (SC)
50 1507 Anthony Nix OF R/R 5-10 185 2/3/1989 Univ. of California-Riverside