Anthony Rendon Is the New Bryce Harper

The Orioles are so bad they didn’t have a home run from a first basemen until their 77th game. They’re so bad that they may be the first team ever to go into the All-Star break without at least one four game-winner. So bad that they’re five games behind the next worst team in baseball, have a far worse winning percentage than the worst-in-baseball 2008-09 Nats and are pacing towards more losses than the 1988 Orioles team that started 0-21.

The return on all that suffering? The same pot of gold that netted Stephen Strasburg in 2009 and Bryce Harper in ’10, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2011 MLB Draft. But who does that figure to be, exactly?

Since I have no expertise on the subject, I turned to three leading MLB Draft experts, the Mel Kipers of hardball, for the answer. Here’s what they said:

Baseball America’s Jim Callis (via email; emphasis added):

I wouldn’t say [Rice 3B Anthony Rendon is the] clear No. 1, because it’s a much deeper crop next year, but he’s still the leader. Here’s a brief report I adapted from earlier in the year:

Rendon won Baseball America’s Freshman of the Year Award in 2009 after hitting .388 with 20 homers, then topped that by batting .394 with 26 homers to become the rare sophomore to win BA’s College Player of the Year Award this spring. His hands and wrists are quick and strong, allowing him to consistently barrel balls, and he’s patient enough to wait opponents out when they try to pitch around him. He’s also a skilled defender at third base, with terrific hands and a strong arm. If he had been eligible for the 2010 draft, I would have rated him ahead of Bryce Harper as a prospect.

MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo (back in June; emphasis added):

Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice: Rendon heads into the summer as the best bat in the Class of 2011. He should hit for average and plenty of power. He’s got great discipline at the plate and the ball just jumps off of his bat. He gets good marks for his defense at third as well, with excellent range, hands, and arm strength from the hot corner. He has the chance to be a true impact player in the big leagues.

ESPN’s Keith Law (back in February; again, emphasis added):

There’s one college bat in the 2011 draft class who already stands out as a potential No. 1 overall selection (more often known as “one-one” within the industry): Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon. He has one of the best swings I’ve seen on a college hitter, with excellent hip rotation and strong, quick hands. He pairs it with good pitch recognition and a patience that’s born both of a good eye and the fact that opposing pitchers don’t want to pitch to him right now. (On Friday night, he didn’t get the bat off his shoulder until he had two strikes on him in his third plate appearance.) He taps his front foot twice and gets it down a little late, but everything about his transfer and swing is quick and forceful enough that it doesn’t seem to affect him against college pitching. His plate coverage is good, and he can shorten his swing to square up a ball up in the zone. He’s a solid defender at third with an above-average arm and good reads. Though it’s possible he’ll get so big he’ll end up moving off the position, right now I wouldn’t bet on it. If he’s not one-one next year — and he’s the early favorite just because of the higher probability of a position player over a comparably talented pitcher — he’s not going to get out of the top five picks.

Sounds great, like the O’s answer to Evan Longoria. Though someone somewhere was probably saying something similar about Matt Wieters and/or Jeffrey Hammonds once upon a time.

8 thoughts on “Anthony Rendon Is the New Bryce Harper”

  1. “Anthony Rendon Is the New Bryce Harper”

    OK, whatever makes blO’s fans feel better about themselves..

  2. That and knowing we’ve been baseball fans for more than five years. Must be nice to pick up a new team because the current one isn’t good and you don’t like the ownership. Doesn’t work that way for most sports fans…your team is your team.

    “Though someone somewhere was probably saying something similar about Matt Wieters…”

    …because writing off a player halfway through his first full major league season is a smart thing to do.

  3. I’m not writing Wieters off, and I’m certainly pulling for the guy, but he’s more than one full season into his major league career and it hasn’t been pretty. That’s all.

  4. His .288 avg last season coupled with his ’09 second half wasn’t all that horrible.

    That said, his start this year is disappointing to say the least. Either way, he doesn’t belong in the same sentence with someone whose career is over.

  5. I’ve been a baseball fan for my whole life. I was born, raised, and currently reside in DC so why the hell would I not root for the Nats?? Root, root, root for the home team…. right? So using your logic, there were no footfall fans in baltimore between the Colts and the ravens.. You root for the o’s, I don’t really give a shit but I don’t have to like the o’s just like you don’t have to like the Nats. So I guess “the current” team is supposed to be the o’s? That doesn’t even make sense. The Nats have been horrible and their ownership is horrible (not as bad as angelos) so it’s not like I jumped on any kind of bandwagon. that’s what people do when a team is actually good. I hope angelos lives forever because as long as he’s alive, the o’s will be a joke, and I’ll be happy.

  6. The Natinals and their “fans” are a joke, just like the last decade of Orioles’ baseball. As a lifetime Os fan, I’m not going to defend the franchise – especially against the equally horrible Natinals (put them in the AL East and their record is no better). Instead I’ll simply point out that the Natinals have an inferior stadium, an uninformed fanbase and stole one of the more likable franchises (with sweet ass uniforms!) away from Montreal. The idea of baseball in DC is embarrassing. Yes, even more so than in Montreal. And let’s not forget that the vast majority of current Naitinals’ “fans” are former Orioles’ fans.

    And anyone growing up in the Balt/Wash area between the ages of 15-45 should be Skins/Orioles fans because those were the only teams here during their youth. So when you say “root, root, root for the home team,” try to remember those were the only home teams for a generation.

  7. In a nutshell… you’re a fucking idiot. Please don’t tell me what my home team is or should be.. I mean, that’s just stupid. “Natinals” was not funny over a year ago, and it sure as hell aint funny now..especially when you use multiple times. The “Natinals” were not stolen you fucking fool, and calling the Expos one of the more likeable teams is even more fucking stupid. They were averaging about as many fans as your mom bangs in a weekend. The baltmoron inferiority complex continues..

  8. Wow, i hate it when people think they know other people and they’re completely wrong. But i agree with illformula with the age thing. I satarted getting real big in baseball in 2006. Since i lived in the DC area, of course I liked the nats. They’re the hoooome team! But for years we were awful, but we weren’t the worst thing that ever happened to baseball. Some of you people are acting like being a Nationals fan means you will never have a winning team, and just waste your happiness away. I watch every Nationals game on the local channel, and I see up and coming talent, and veterans doing well.
    Also, it seems like people like you all say things to early. I know I’m commenting this late, but I’m just frustrated as a Nationals fan to be hearing this crap. The O’s got Buck Showalter, great move. They finished the last 2 months with a better record than ANY team in the AL EAST! Now they didn’t make too much changes, pretty much just managerial, and it all changed. In the offseason they’ve gotten Mark Reynolds, J.J. Hardy, Brendan Harris to platoon, and some minor leaguers. All they need is to sign Derek Lee or Adam LaRoche and they can cash in their lineup for 2011.
    So all you non-orioles or non-nats fans need to learn some real things about these teams than just listening to how bad they are on ESPN and wathcing highlights of “your team”.

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