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Jason Hunt takes a look at a third base prospect who could arrive in the Majors as soon as next season, the Nationals' Anthony Rendon
As part of our comprehensive look at the third base position heading into the 2013 fantasy season, Craig Goldstein and I are taking a closer look at two third base prospects and how to value them in fantasy. This is to give you a better idea of two of the players listed on our 2013 Fantasy Second Base Prospects Rankings. Today's subject is the #1 prospect on our list, the Washington Nationals' Anthony Rendon.
Weight: 195 lbs
On 40-man roster: Yes
Age as of 4/1/13: 22
Rendon was widely considered to be the top pick in the draft at the start of his junior season of college. However, injuries limited him for most of the season to designated hitter, which caused his value to drop some. He fell to the 6th pick in the draft, where the Nationals scooped him up and signed him to a $6 million bonus which included a 40 man roster spot.
Rendon did not debut until the 2012 season, and ended up missing substantial portions of the season due to injuries. He did appear in 43 games and reached AA during the year, but the numbers don't really tell the full story on the 3B prospect. He performed much better in the Arizona Fall League this year, hitting .338/.436/.494 with 15 walks and 14 strikeouts in 77 at bats there.
What's Stopping Him From Contributing Now?
For Rendon, it really comes down to three things:
Health - Rendon has not shown the ability to stay healthy in nearly two seasons now, and will likely need to do so to really cement his status. He has missed substantial time due to a fractured ankle (2012), and a shoulder injury (2010)
Ryan Zimmerman - There are probably quite a few teams that would give Rendon a shot right now to win their Opening Day 3B job, but with the Nationals locked into Ryan Zimmerman long-term (and other positions similarly locked up), they do not need to rush Rendon up to the Majors.
Time - Rendon really just needs plate appearances at this point, and it would not surprise me if they were split between AA and AAA this year. While he is on the 40-man roster already, he will still have an option remaining after the 2013 season, and they will not have to force him onto the 25 man roster until after the 2014 season.
What Could He Do For Fantasy Owners Once He Gets There?
Rendon has the potential to be a fantasy monster, as you would anticipate with our #1 ranking amongst third base prospects. He has the potential to hit for a high average along with above average power. We could very well see seasons where Rendon hits above .300 and 20-25 home runs or more, and they aren't likely to be that far away. He isn't likely to provide very much in terms of speed, but should be very good for both runs and runs batted in as well. For those of you in on base percentage leagues, Rendon has excellent strike zone judgment as well, and should provide high levels of OBP as well. He profiles as a middle of the order hitter regardless of the position, and reports on his defense point to a player who would do just fine at 3B long term.
When Could He Arrive?
We could see Rendon at some point during the 2013 season, but I would not believe he would be up to stay until the 2014 season. Where he is playing at that point remains to be seen, as the Nationals are locked into Zimmerman at 3B long term, and have been linked to numerous free agent first basemen as well. Add in that you have Harper-Span-Werth as their outfield for the next few years, and the biggest issue for Rendon may just be finding somewhere he can play every day.
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