Wednesday, January 13, 2016


When compiling a list of the biggest drafts busts of 2015 fantasy baseball, right at the very top was reserved for Washington Nationals 2B/3B Anthony Rendon.  When you take into account Rendon's ADP being the late first round after coming off a terrific 2014 breakout campaign, what took place over the six months of last season was beyond brutal.  Things got off to a bad start when Rendon suffered a stubborn oblique injury at the start of spring training and eventually he needed to start the season on the DL as a result of the injury.  Instead of returning in April however, Rendon did not make it back to the field until June as he suffered setbacks with the oblique.  Upon his return, Rendon looked nothing like the five-category stud of 2014, hitting 0 home runs in 18 June games and recording another bagel in the steals category.  Just when Rendon's owners thought things couldn't get worse, he suffered a quadriceps injury in July that sent him back to the DL.  Even upon returning in July, Rendon was brutal with the bat as he hit just .256 with 5 home runs and only 27 RBI in 242 at-bats.  That put the exclamation point on Rendon's 2015 season that included the following numbers:

5 HR
25 RBI
43 R
1 SB

Ugly numbers all around for Rendon and needless to say his fantasy baseball owners were beyond disgusting and likely swearing off him forever.  That would be understandable but also shortsighted when you consider that Rendon is still a kid at the age of 25 and who only two years ago produced the following numbers:

21 HR
83 RBI
111 R
17 SB

The above numbers immediately thrust the former 2011 first round pick (sixth overall) to the forefront of the fantasy baseball community and it was those five category statistics that put him into the late first round territory.  Of course the bottom all fell out and now we are back to square one here for 2016. 

Looking at things from the surface downward, Rendon retains both second and third base eligibility for 2016 fantasy baseball as he garnered enough stars at both.  Rendon carries much more value at the more shallow second base and at that position he is nearly a top five guy.  At third base Rendon is toward the bottom of 12-team daily mixers due to the better depth.  In addition to the eligibility, Rendon is still just 25 and a few years from his prime.  That means some ceiling is left to his name and with it and uptick in numbers. 

Now the numbers.  We pretty much have to throw out all of Rendon's 2015 statistics as his awful health never had him healthy for an extended point of the season.  Instead we have to figure out if 2014 is repeatable and that is where things get more complicated.  At the very least, Rendon is a batting average asset as he has posted very good walk and strikeout rates going back to his minor league days.  That will keep Rendon in the .285-.300 range going forward.  In addition, Rendon is likely to bat second in the potent Nationals batting order which means he is a lock for 80-plus runs and RBI and likely more on the former category. 

That brings up to home runs and stolen bases.  Reaching close to his prime years means Rendon will be capable of his best home run output.  The 21 he hit in 2014 was no doubt an outlier number as Rendon had not gone near that number previously going back to the minors.  However Rendon was likely also growing into his body and so repeating 20 home runs is not out of the question.  As a hedge, we would project between 15-20 homers and be happy for anything more. 

Finally we get to the stolen bases which were the most pleasant surprise of 2014 when Rendon swiped 17 bags.  Again Rendon was not a base stealer when he was coming up the Nationals system and in 2013 he took all of one base.  Rendon also stole only one bag in 2015 but some of that likely had to do with his legs not being healthy.  So as we gaze toward 2016, project Rendon in the are of 10-12 steals and again anything more would be a bonus. 

When you are looking at Anthony Rendon for 2016 fantasy baseball, the Nationals infielder is no doubt a bit of a riddle.  His last two seasons were polar opposite in terms of impact but the guy remains quite talented.  He should not go anywhere near Round 1 of drafts this season but Round 3 sounds like a good place to begin looking toward his direction.  The talent is too great to stay down for much longer.

2016 PROJECTION:  .288 16 HR 84 RBI 93 R 11 SB 


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