After a monstrous 2014, Anthony Rendon played 80 mediocre contests in 2015, so what should we expect in 2016? Personally, I am a very big fan of Rendon. He was the first person I ever profiled here at Faketeams.com, and I've owned him from day 1 in my original keeper league. Frankly, I should pat myself on the back, because hardly anything has changed since that first article. Rendon is an ideal hitter for fantasy, so let's get into this.
Rendon's average is going to be one of his strengths during his career. He chases pitches at a below average rate, and when he swings, he makes contact at an above average rate. His line drive rate and hard hit rate are also above average, and he consistently sprays the ball to all fields. If you are looking for batting average stability, Rendon is your man.
Rendon has above average power, which is well above average when compared to his counterparts at second base. His 2015 average home run and fly ball distance was 283.92, below his career average, left him in a group which was comprised of Justin Upton, Brian Dozier, Eric Hosmer, Matt Carpenter, Yasiel Puig and Carlos Gomez. While those guys didn't have knock your socks off power, they all would have been above average performers if they were also second baseman. In 2014 Rendon hit 21 bombs, and if he has another healthy season, there is no reason to expect anything less than 15 from him.
Rendon played through knee, oblique, and quad injuries last year, and was limited to 80 games in which he only pilfered 1 base. Obviously we do not know his health until he steps on a field in 2016, but this is going to be the biggest question mark for him. When healthy, he has stolen 17 bases in a major league season, but health is no given. He's had ankle injuries in the past, and with the number of running related problems he's had, the Nationals may slow him down in the future. He's not a burner, but he's a good base runner, and so he'll have plenty of opportunities to run, but as of today, the number of steals he gets in 2016 may have more to do with ideas his GM has for him, and his health.
Runs and RBI:
The Nationals were a colossal failure despite the efforts of Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer. Rendon was obviously part of the problem but going into 2016 the Nats lineup should look to be back as one of the higher scoring lineups in the national league. Here is their projected lineup courtesy of RotoChamp:
1. Ben Revere
2. Anthony Rendon
3. Bryce Harper
4. Ryan Zimmerman
5. Daniel Murphy
6. Jayson Werth
7. Danny Espinosa
8. Wilson Ramos
So Rendon is in the heart of some very very talented hitters. Revere is capable of scoring plenty of runs, and Harper, Zimmerman, and Murphy can all drive Rendon in plenty. If Rendon can keep up his high on base percentage, we could easily see him score over 90 runs along with 70 RBI.
Unfortunately, this projection is largely based off of health. He's battled many issues going back to college, but if he can remain healthy, Rendon could be the #1 player at the keystone. But that ceiling comes at the price of a huge downside of missing a significant chunk of the season. I personally ranked him 4th, which is just a hedge on his ability. He's presently being taken 70th overall, and I think that is fair given his baggage. He's a player I wouldn't feel comfortable over extending on, but if you can get him at any sort of a discount, you should be looking to pounce on him.