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Rendon learns from first MLB stint

May 3, 2013, 2:00 PM EDT

Associated Press
Anthony Rendon went 6-for-25 in eight games with the Nationals.

ATLANTA — Ryan Zimmerman's return from a hamstring strain brings to an end Anthony Rendon's first big-league stint. After filling in at third base for the last two weeks, the organization's top prospect is headed back to Class AA Harrisburg to continue his development.

Rendon returns to the minors having struggled at times, both at the plate and in the field, but he finished strong with a 2-for-3 performance last night against the Braves and clearly looked more and more comfortable with each day he spent in the majors.

That should pay dividends down the road when Rendon gets the call again, perhaps for good.

"Oh, I think it's gonna make a great difference, if I do happen to come back," he said. "Your comfortability is going to be a lot higher now. The more things you do, the more ABs you get, the moreRead more »

  1. SCNatsFan - May 3, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    Please go down and learn how to play second base. Please please please.

  2. SonnyG10 - May 3, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    David Proctor said…SonnyG10, where are you seeing it on ESPN's website where it isn't loading? I haven't been able to find it anywhere either.May 03, 2013 4:14 AMDavid, I found the following link by googling "Bryce Begins": espn.go.com/watchespn/index/_/id/900802/bryce-begins‎

  3. Scott Margenau - May 3, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    Love this kid. He may smile even more than gio

  4. SonnyG10 - May 3, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    I was impressed with the way Rendon adjusted to the major league pitching. I had a feeling he might since he made the same adjustments when he went to AA. He's going to be a good one for us.

  5. NatsFan05 - May 3, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    See you in September kid, stay healthy…Go Nats!

  6. JD - May 3, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    Very nice trip up overall. Started out a bit shaky but make nice adjustments and looked more at home in the last few days. I especially like the walks. It's excellent that he's leaving on a positive note with a nice 2 for 3 in his back pocket and knowing that the big leagues are not too big for him. Now it's time to hone he skills even more at AA against other teams top prospects. I think a move up to AAA around July would be another step in the right direction.

  7. MicheleS - May 3, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    Nice to have the kid up for awhile.. Stay healthy and I will echo what SCNatsfan said.. Please learn 2B. you will be up faster if you do.

  8. Theophilus T. S. - May 3, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    "Love this kid. He may smile even more than gio" [sic]Gio doesn't have much to smile about these days. Maybe if he stopped grinning he'd throw strikes.

  9. SonnyG10 - May 3, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    I am not ready to give up on Espi because of his defensive abilities. I have not seen enough of Rendon to know whether he has the same range as Espi. Rendon certainly has the arm strength and the hands to field the ball, but I don't know about his range. I consider defense paramount to a successful team and I want the best middle infield defense as possible. Defense and pitching is what will make our team champions, with enough offense to get by. I also know we need a position for Rendon, so I am perplexed. I will leave it up to Davey and Mike Rizzo to make any tough calls, but I'm hoping we are able to keep Espinosa at second base.

  10. baseballjones - May 3, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    "Comfortability" – ha!

  11. SonnyG10 - May 3, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    Theophilus T. S. said……Gio doesn't have much to smile about these days. Maybe if he stopped grinning he'd throw strikes.May 03, 2013 10:42 AMThat's a nasty thing to say

  12. NatsJack in Florida - May 3, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    SonnyG10…….don't worry about Anthony's range. He's every bit as good defensively as Espinosa and Lord knows, he's a muvh more disciplined hitter.As a hitter, Espinosa Stinks.

  13. SonnyG10 - May 3, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    Thanks NatsJack, that makes me feel better. I'll quit worrying about keeping Espi.

  14. Theophilus T. S. - May 3, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    "That's a nasty thing to say" Not nasty, just hopeful. Gonzalez's cheerful countenance masks his inner Ebby Calvin LaLoosh.

  15. Laddie Blah Blah - May 3, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    Rendon proved he is a big league hitter. Other than Harper, he had the highest OBP of anyone already on the roster. Other than Desi, he had the highest BA of any infielder, and that was after a slow start and only 8 games. During the series with the Braves, he hit line drives to all parts of the field, more consistently than anyone else in the lineup. The kid is a fast learner.He has nothing to prove. If anything, he has been more durable this year than Zim or Werth, who have not exactly been healthy in the recent past, either. He is being wasted in AA. A guy with his OBP stats is ideal for the 2-hole, right in front of Harper and Zim. And his ability to make contact and go to RF makes him a great hit-and-run guy behind Span. This should have been a no-brainer.The guy who has something to prove is Espinoza. He has a lifetime big league BA in the mid .230s. What he has proved, if anything, is that he is not a big league hitter.They sent the wrong guy down. The only credible excuse is that they want him to learn another position, like 2nd base. If Zim goes on the DL, again, they can always bring him back to play 3rd. He is a great athlete, in addition to already being one of their best hitters and an excellent defender.You play the guys who give you the best chance to win. Or so you would think.

  16. Tcostant - May 3, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    The thing with Espi, he looks worse defensively lately. We need to start realizing that just because Desi put it all together in year 3 in the bigs; that doesn't mean Espi will too. I'm almost ready to move on from Espi…

  17. NatsJack in Florida - May 3, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    I'm not ready to move on from Espinosa……yet. But until he's hitting .230 (which stinks) my mantra will continue to be "Espinosa Stinks".

  18. Steady Eddie - May 3, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    Theo — you may think you're being hopeful but I had the same reaction as Sonny — it comes out as bile-filled and nasty.

  19. Alphabet Soup Erik - May 3, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    Great post Laddie!!! Can't believe they are being so blind about this…actually I can. Espinosa can't hit…and never will be able to hit. You can't teach somebody to be a great hitter…you are born with it. You can obviously improve, but Rendon is just a better hitter and gives them a better chance to win. Hit him in the 2 hole and watch him do what Machado is doing.

  20. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 3, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    JD said… It's excellent that he's leaving on a positive note with a nice 2 for 3 in his back pocketMay 03, 2013 10:33 AM While people may be impressed with that 2-3, I was impressed with the walk and the liner that was caught by JUp on the 0-2 count also.He fouled off pitches and worked Medlen in 4 very professional at-bats.As I wrote early in the evening last night that scouts were most impressed about him that he doesn't get flustered in 2 strike counts and you got to see that last night in the 0-2 count where he shot a hard liner to left that was caught on the shoestrings by JUp.He left you all tasting it. When he plays his game which is a gap power game right now, he will barrel up line drives into both gaps but he loves the Right-center gap where he can turn the doubles into triples.Rizzo has to find a spot for him to start.

  21. JaneB - May 3, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    But Espi HAS hit. He hit well when he first came up. He can do it again. Sending hate his way isn't helping at all. He may need another team where he can start fresh. I was impressed with Rendon for sure.

  22. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 3, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    Alphabet Soup Erik said… Great post Laddie!!! Can't believe they are being so blind about this…actually I can. Espinosa can't hit…and never will be able to hit. You can't teach somebody to be a great hitter…you are born with it. You can obviously improve, but Rendon is just a better hitter and gives them a better chance to win. Hit him in the 2 hole and watch him do what Machado is doing.Rendon just sent a message. Now it's up to Rizzo. Ray Knight even said it last night. This is what this team has needed for 2 years now which is a legit hitter in the 7 hole behind Ian Desmond. 2 guys who are double machines.Sure, Rendon can bat 2 hole but I would leave JWerth there. One thing at a time.Your move Rizzo.

  23. Faraz Shaikh - May 3, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    I agree with JaneB's good vibes comment. He may just need us to have confidence in him. We all know that the talent is there.I hope Nationals can be a little bit more patient with this guy.as an insurance, I don't mind Rendon learning 2b as well.

  24. SonnyG10 - May 3, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    I really like the idea of Rendon hitting in the 2 spot. I think all you posters that commented on that are on to a good thing.

  25. Secret wasian man - May 3, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    After I saw the kid a few times I liked him. He did an admirable job.

  26. Secret wasian man - May 3, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    Espinoza is struggling. But there is not many on this team who are not. And he can hit for power

  27. Joe Seamhead - May 3, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    Theophilus T. S. said…"Love this kid. He may smile even more than gio" [sic]Gio doesn't have much to smile about these days. Maybe if he stopped grinning he'd throw strikes.————————————————– Not nasty? it certainly was, inaccurate, and uncalled for, imho. Gio got beat by the Braves in his last start, but the start before that he went 8 innings against a pretty good Reds team, giving up 1 hit, 7 K's, and 2 BB's.I don't know about anybody else,but I know the Nats fans were smiling.

  28. SCNatsFan - May 3, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    JaneB everyone has stood behind Danny for 2 years with good vibes. There is a difference between wanting to see someone do well vs. thinking they might do well. Maybe a change of scenery wakes him up but once Rendon starts at second he has to see the writing on the wall. Future Houston Astro.

  29. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 3, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    JaneB said… But Espi HAS hit. He hit well when he first came up.Espi hit well but then couldn't adjust to the league 2nd time around in 2011.Can he be a good hitter? Yes, but it's an overhaul of his mechanics and usually his hot streaks are short-lived and his slumps are dreadfully long.I don't know how to sugarcoat it. It's so obvious what's wrong with him and he can't fix himself.He wants to be a HR hitter at the expense of everything else. The best thing for him is slowing down his game in the Minors.But for anyone who is OK with a .310 OBP guy who has a 5:1 K/BB ratio and 17 HRs a year, then Danny is your guy.

  30. NatsJack in Florida - May 3, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    With an addition of Rendon that would give the Nats 3 solid work the count guys plus the Z-man who hits well in a 2 strike count.4 guys who don't press when behind is pretty solid.

  31. SCNatsFan - May 3, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    The league adjusted to Danny and knows he'll swing at any slider away. Danny needs to adjust to the league.

  32. SCNatsFan - May 3, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    If they send Espi down my post count will go way down and I'll have to find someone else to complain about lol

  33. EmDash - May 3, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    Yeah, Gio's problem is definitely not his attitude being too cheerful. He was even more so last season, after all, and was generally pretty dominant.I like the idea of Rendon learning second base, but he definitely needs to do that in the minors. Second is too important of a defensive position to have a guy learning it on the job on a team trying to be a contender.

  34. EmDash - May 3, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    Espi's the only guy on the team I can think of who would probably be happier on another team. He really seems to want to be a shortstop, and as long as he's here he'll always be compared to Desmond and always be expected to break out offensively in the same way or be viewed as a disappointment. When, generally speaking, his performance in that area is not far off from league average for a second baseman.

  35. Joe Seamhead - May 3, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    I'm not thinking it's time to give up on Espy, but it's a cruel world in MLB. I want him to perform well, we all do, but he's got to step up his game, and soon.As to Rendon, he made good impressions all the way around. Like I said, he showed a lot, and if he's ready, the powers that be will bring him back sooner rather than later. In spite of what some bloggers think, neither Johnson or Rizzo is stupid. I think with enough reps, the kid can play third, second, or even shortstop.My only qualifier is "with enough reps."

  36. JD - May 3, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    Ghost, I have to agree with Bowdenball on this point and disagree with you. You have to look at Espinosa within the context of other 2nd basemen in the NL and in that regard he ranked 3rd (based on fangraphs WAR) behind Aaron Hill and Brandon Phillips in 2012. I think the numbers you quote above are perfectly acceptable for a 2nd baseman hitting 7th (better than acceptable). My rationale for sending him down is that he is trending much worse this year and it would be good to at least bring him back to where he was. I don't think Espi is unfixable. I think he needs to find someone to work with who he trusts. I think that if Espi just improved his 2 strike approach he would be a much better player.

  37. Eric - May 3, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    So, I don't have 2 years under my belt watching Espi struggle at the plate; however, I don't feel that he has been instrumental in stretches where the Nats struggle. Generally speaking, when the Nats have problems, it's because some aspect (e.g., bullpen, SPs, defense, lineup, managerial, etc.) of the team, or some combination of aspects, is having problems.IMO, when we're firing on all cylinders, Espi's defense if much more of an asset than his hitting is a liability.It's concerning that Espi started to slip on D, but it's notable that that's exactly when Davey benched him. If Espi returns to form on D, I seriously doubt he'll be replaced in the near future.

  38. whatsanattau - May 3, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    I come not to bury Espinoza but to praise Lombo…

  39. whatsanattau - May 3, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    Playing 2nd requires 2 good ankles … And apparently a decent shoulder and wrist.

  40. whatsanattau - May 3, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    A little plate discipline also helpful…

  41. Eric - May 3, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    Interesting comment from the WaPo article about last night's game:"1st in W.A.R.5/2/2013 7:35 PM PDTA few things to consider about the Nats and Braves:Number of games played against teams in 2013 that finished at or below .500 in 2012: Braves: 18 Nats: 9 Number of games played against teams in 2013 that qualified for the 2012 postseason: Braves: 10 (7 against the Nats) Nats: 17 Number of games played against teams in 2013 that finished 5th place in their division in 2012: Braves: 9 Nats: 6"I thought that was interesting.

  42. Eric - May 3, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    Heh, um, the article was about last night's game, the comment, obviously, was not ;)

  43. ChicagoNatsGirl - May 3, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    I just like the word "comforatability."

  44. ChicagoNatsGirl - May 3, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    Sorry *comfortability.* I should take more care to avoid typos in made-up words.

  45. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 3, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    JD, we will have to agree to continue to disagree on Danny and his WAR. I have heard all the WAR arguments about Espi and I don't see it because he is the classic player where WAR gives him too much credit for his defense and occasional power and skews it.Look at tradional metrics and also how many rallies he has stalled this year.I watch him play every day and while his defense is very good, 2nd base isn't shortstop. The gun he has is great but not needed at 2nd. Lombo showed last night in 2 slick plays that his much weaker arm is adequate.While Espi's range is good he is now tentative about diving for balls and corraling them in fear of re-hurting his shoulder. You could see him trying to bend to get to balls that he couldn't corral that got by him and the most costly was last Saturday in the big 1st inning. Then you have his cringe worthy approach at the plate which is reflected in his BA/OBP/OPS. Swinging at 1st pitches and swing & miss percentages don't show up in WAR. He makes it too easy on the pitcher and if you took out his Birthday Game where he was a star, he's only had 2 other games this year that he has driven in a run.Baseball is about consistency and Danny is about long agonizing slumps and short hot streaks.

  46. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 3, 2013 at 5:12 PM

    JD, I could tell every opposing pitcher the secret, which isn't a well kept secret, to striking out Danny Espinosa on 3 pitches when he is batting left-handed. Of course the pitcher has to execute the 3 pitches and this is how sad the situation is.1st pitch he swings at if it's close. You pitch him fastball inside off the plate so he either swings or misses or fouls it off to get him 0-1.On the next pitch from a RHP throw him a slider near the inside of the plate under his hands for Strike 2. Now 0-2. On the 3rd pitch, throw him a heater out of the strike zone over the middle of the plate at shoulder height and he will swing out of his cleats for that swing & miss.Strike 3, YOU'RE OUT!!!It has become that simple because he isn't disciplined as a hitter. He is so predictable it's sad.

  47. alexva - May 3, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    the problem with Espinosa is what it has been his entire career, poor plate discipline. he still has power and plays great defense. if he can get his average up to .250 he's an asset. right now that's doubtful unless this injury is worse than we're being led to believe.

  48. Just wonderin' - May 3, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    Espinosa is now at 1500 PAs and 1350 ABs. Isn't the rule of thumb that somewhere around 1000-1200 PAs/ABs a player has pretty much established who he is as a hitter?

  49. BxJaycobb - May 3, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    There was one downside to Desi coming into his own last year and matching his "potential": and that is everybody thinking the same might happen for Danny. It's not going to. Desi never struck out as much. Desi never had such a mechanically disastrous swing and approach. People who maintain that Danny is going to eventually figure it out and be a 25 homer .270 hitter are just deluded. for the love of all that is holy, teach rendon second base.

  50. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 3, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    BxJaycobb said… There was one downside to Desi coming into his own last year and matching his "potential": and that is everybody thinking the same might happen for Danny. It's not going to. Desi never struck out as much. Desi never had such a mechanically disastrous swing and approach. People who maintain that Danny is going to eventually figure it out and be a 25 homer .270 hitter are just deluded. for the love of all that is holy, teach rendon second base. May 03, 2013 2:01 PM Everybody? Nah, there were a few of us who have told it like it is. Not many of us.Danny has a lot of fans and when you think like a fan and with your heart you can try to see something that isn't there.If Danny could play every day like it was his Birthday, he'd be a Hall Of Famer.That's what he need to find within himself. What did I do that day differently and how can I replicate that?And that's the $20,000,000 question that separates the superstars from the AAAA guys.

  51. ptindc - May 3, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    Great analysis on Espi here. As I said before in another post, I've been pro-Espi for years. Unless the whole team starts raking (where we can hide Danny near the bottom of the order) then we need to stick with Lombo who (almost) always delivers a quality AB.

  52. Sec. 3, My Rocking Fire Sofa - May 3, 2013 at 7:02 PM

    Danny has a lot of fans and when you think like a fan and with your heart you can try to see something that isn't there.Of course, since we are fans, and not the GM, manager, or hitting coach, we are free to do so without any downside. Just saying.

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