Nationals Select Anthony Rendon at No. 6

Posted by Dave Nichols | Monday, June 06, 2011 | , , , | 0 comments »

With the sixth overall pick in the the First Year Draft, the Washington Nationals selected Anthony Rendon, third baseman from Rice University.  He's described as "the kind of hitter who could win batting titles with average to above-average power" according to's Keith Law. Rendon hit .327/.520/.523 in 63 games this season with 20 doubles, six homers and 37 RBIs.

Rendon, 6'0", 180, turned 21 today, and was widely acclaimed as the best college bat in this year's draft and was the 2010 Howser Trophy winner as National College Player of the Year.  However, a shoulder injury that has limited Rendon to designated hitter this season and a subsequent power drop might have caused him to slip to the Nats to select at No. 6.  Pre-draft specualtion had Rendon going to Seattle with the No. 2 pick, but the Mariners opted for Univeristy of Virginia product Danny Hultzen, a left-handed pitcher that attended St. Albans as a prep. [Video reaction from Rendon].

Rendon is a "polished college hitter" according to Nats GM Mike Rizzo. "We feel great about the selection." [video].

“We were pleasantly surprised, yes, that he got to us at six,” Rizzo said from Nats Park. “Going into the draft season he was projected to be the No. 1 pick and is one of the best college hitters in the game. And throughout the college season and the draft season he held onto that status. Just 24 hours ago he was going [No.] 1 or [No.] 2 in the draft.”

Rizzo indicated that Rendon is a fantastic fielder but is athletic enough to play anywhere on the diamond.  There is already early specualtion that Rendon could move to second base or to the outfield.  But Rizzo's primary concern is to get the player signed and playing in the minor leagues, where he should be a "quick mover" through the Nats system.

“We feel that he has gold-glove caliber defensive skills at third base. We’re going to see where and when we have to make a decision on that. What we think we have is a very polished, accomplished college hitter.”

Nationals Vice President of Player Personnel Roy Clark is intimately familiar with the player, having drafted Rendon out of high school when Clark was with the Atlanta Braves.

The Nationals have two more selections today, the No. 23 and 34 overall, both picks compensation for Adam Dunn's free agency.  With the selection of a position player and the deepness of this draft in college arms, it would not be surprising to see Rizzo go that way.  We'll provide updates as the picks fall from Nats Park.