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Nats get 3B Rendon with 6th pick

Jun 7, 2011, 12:22 AM EDT

Updated at 11:09 p.m.

At the mercy of five other clubs lined up in front of them after holding the No. 1 pick in each of the last two drafts, the Nationals tonight may have managed to get the best player of the entire class anyways.

Washington selected Anthony Rendon with the sixth overall pick, surprised and elated the Rice third baseman was passed over by five franchises clearly concerned about the state of his right shoulder.

“We were pleasantly surprised, yes, that he got to us at 6,” general manager Mike Rizzo said during a conference call minutes after making the selection. “He was projected to be the No. 1 pick, the best college hitter in the game. And throughout the college season and draft season, he held onto that status. As late as about 24 hours ago, he was supposedly going 1 or 2 in the draft. So we’re pleasantly surprised.”

Owners of two more first-round picks as compensation for losing Adam Dunn to free agency, the Nationals selected 6-foot-9 Kentucky right-hander Alex Meyer with the 23rd pick. They later took Brian Goodwin, an outfielder from Miami Dade College, with the 34th pick.

The 6-foot, 190-pound Rendon, who happens to turn 21 today, entered his junior season at Rice widely considered the best amateur player in the country. But a shoulder injury — the details of which were
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  1. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:27 AM

    So that means he won't sign till 11:50 PM on the 15th of August. I'll be watching him in Viera in the Fall Instructional League.

  2. Pessimestic Optimist - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:31 AM

    I hope that it all works out for Rendon; he deserves our best wishes for his future. It'll be fun watching his progress.However, based on his past record, Rizzo's 'due diligence' on the medical side of things has been suspect at best.

  3. Water23 - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:47 AM

    Let's hope they got some additional Doctors on the staff after the last few years. I would if he is another quick to the majors player? Not sure as to do so will require he move positions.

  4. Grandstander - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:54 AM

    Is this the same medical staff that did their "due diligence" with Marquis and LaRoche? That diagnosed Zimmerman? I'm a little worried that every other team passed on him. We're apparently the only ones who didn't see something wrong with him.

  5. Wally - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:57 AM

    This was a terrific pick. Hoping for Meyer or Mahtook at 23

  6. Unkyd - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:04 AM

    I'm always content to play the idiot, so here: this guy seems to have the tools to play ANYWHERE. Why not start him out in the middle infield. If the current Kids solidify their spots there, why can't he be an outfielder? Too small of a target for 1B, and I believe that we have at least 2 solid MI prospects, in Lombardozzi and (name escapes me…little help?). Howany +++++ RH outfield prospects have we stockpiled?

  7. Tcostant - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:10 AM

    From MLB: It's obvious that the Nationals were not turned off by Rendon's history with injuries. He had shoulder and ankle problems in the past. In 63 games this season, Rendon hit .327 with six home runs and 27 RBIs for Rice. Great – another injury guy…

  8. Knoxville Nat - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:11 AM

    Yes he probably is too short to be a first baseman (although Steve Gravey wasn't tall either) but, going way out on a limb, why not consider moving RZ to first base if this kid pans out? Just might lengthen Zimm's career.

  9. Gonat - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:12 AM

    Unkyd, I am thinking the same to get Rendon into the outfield. He is RH and the team really needs RH outfielders. I wanted Starling but he would be 3 to 4 years away if signable so you get the best bat in the Draft and should move him to the outfield.With the #23, the Nats get their Meyer! Very nice!

  10. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:15 AM

    @unkyd, Rendon is a third bagger until further notice. Makes sense other than Steven King who else is there?You can never have enough MI though and Rendon may qualify. They are easily converted to other positions so what's important is the bat. Espinosa, Hague, Blake Kelso, and perhaps even Steven King. This is the philosophy that says get athletic players who can play defense, run the bases, etc. Consider good ol' JimBo and picks like Michael Burgess and Chris Marerro … its a completely different approach to drafting players and one that has been adopted by the very best scouting directors, GM's, asst. GM's like Clark.But again the important thing? Its the bat. Its what makes Harper special.

  11. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:22 AM

    I agree – it's a bat. Good surprise. Keep him at 3B until Zimmerman re-ups with a new long term deal.

  12. Gonat - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:29 AM

    Rizzo said the Nationals "painstakingly" checked Rendon's medical reports."Our medical staff has cleared his health," Rizzo said.

  13. TMJ - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:34 AM

    I was kinda hoping they'd get Starling at 6 so I like the Rendon pick. The injuries don't bother me that much because Starling would have been a signing risk anyway. The head scratcher for me is picking a third baseman. Where do you play this guy? Nice problem to have, I guess.

  14. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:37 AM

    Well, you can look at it this way. Keith Law's #2 and #6 prospects -> Nats in this draft.

  15. Wally - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:39 AM

    Anon – 2 & 9, but still good. Hoping Mahtook falls to 34, but its unlikely

  16. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:40 AM

    Where do you play this guy?Third base. Other than Stephen King in Harrisburg there is no other prospect playing that position regularly. He's a gold-glove class fielder; like Zim and Espinosa and so easily converted to other positions. Odd man out IMHO is Ian Desmond … because what he is missing they have: a bat.

  17. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:44 AM

    Some funny things strike me after visiting his Rice site.Not even team leader in BA. A Rice guy named Ratterree had the same average (.327), while getting more AB's (260 to 214), hits, 2B's, RBI's and total bases than Rendon.I'm also worried that Rendon started 55 of 63 games this year as DH. He only had 18 assists (and 2 errors) this year–while in his freshman year he played 534 consecutive innings at 3B.Whatever the shoulder injury was, it kept him completely off the field defensively. Looks like it also affected his power: in 2010 he hit 26 homers, in 2011 he hit only 6.I hope this #6 doesn't turn out to be another Ross Detwiler. To me, a #6 pick, first round, should be ready to play in the big leagues soon–like Zimmerman.

  18. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:46 AM

    Really just a great day to be a Nationals fan. Great day!

  19. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:50 AM

    I hope this #6 doesn't turn out to be another Ross Detwiler. To me, a #6 pick, first round, should be ready to play in the big leagues soon–like Zimmerman. Before he signs he has to go through a physical. Hopefully, Nats medical consultants will give him a complete check. Another Detwiler? Did you see Boz's chat today where in he discussed Bora's uncanny ability to find the very best talent to represent? I think you can be certain that if Boras represents the guy he will be good and reasonably healthy.

  20. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2011 at 2:00 AM

    There are 2 other reasons Rendon's power dropped this year. He walked in 27% of his at bats and his OBP was a staggering .520. That is almost 200 points higher than his batting average. Obviously pitchers were not looking to test him.The other one is that they changed the bats this year and offensive numbers dropped across the board.Now I'm not saying his shoulder injury didn't contribute but last season he hat extra base hits in 43% of his at bats. This year he had extra base hits in 41%. It just happened that more of his dropped for doubles than homers this season.I love the Alex Meyer pick too. I wouldn't mind seeing a Jackie Bradley pick in the 34th slot.-Pdowdy

  21. Will - Jun 7, 2011 at 2:33 AM

    "Not even team leader in BA. A Rice guy named Ratterree had the same average (.327), while getting more AB's (260 to 214), hits, 2B's, RBI's and total bases than Rendon."A Virginia guy named Doolittle hit nearly twice as many homers as Zimmerman in his junior year. None of the above means anything.

  22. Richard - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:00 AM

    Great draft. Congrats to Mike Rizzo and the boys. I agree with MLBDraft that, in a very broad sense, getting Rendon is like the Nats having the first pick in the draft for 3 years running. And I think, re his injuries, that every player is a risk and Rendon is worth it. Re Meyer, Baseball America projected the Nats taking him with the 6th pick, so I loved getting him with the 23rd.

  23. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:02 AM

    Anon 950pm says: Another Detwiler? Did you see Boz's chat today where in he discussed Bora's uncanny ability to find the very best talent to represent? I think you can be certain that if Boras represents the guy he will be good and reasonably healthy. So my question to Anon 950pm: Is Detwiler a Boras client?

  24. John C. - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:31 AM

    I was nervous about this signing until I saw a bunch of draft nerds (on Sickels' site) complaining about the Nats getting the best player in the draft three years in a row. Then I saw the quote from Rizzo about the medical staff.This staff? The geniuses that diagnosed Flores and LaRoche … and approved the signing of Chien-Ming Wang? I'm not altogether sure they can FIND a shoulder, much less diagnose it.Now I'm worried again …

  25. rogieshan - Jun 7, 2011 at 4:08 AM

    Projected 2013 lineup:1. Goodwin – CF2. Harper – LF3. Rendon – 2b4. Zimmerman – 3b5. Werth – RF6. Morse – 1b7. Ramos/Norris – C8. Espinosa/Desmond – ss

  26. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2011 at 5:05 AM

    Anyway the could draft a new manager?

  27. The Joker - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    Outstanding! Now we have a replacement for Brian Bixler and Jerry Hairston Jr. The Nats are going places.

  28. MicheleS - Jun 7, 2011 at 10:47 PM

    Mark, any update on the today's rounds of the draft? I heard the Nats only picked College players. How many of them are rep'd by Boras??:-)I heard some positive comments from analysts about the first 3 picks, but will be curious on your take.

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