MLB Draft 2011 Prospect Profile: Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice University

Summary

I've made no secret of my affection for Rendon. He's a local prospect, coming from a program I've always liked. He's a phenomenal hitter when he's healthy and has all the things you want out of a college bat; power, plate discipline, quick wrists. 

Looking at Rendon's swing, you can easily imagine him winning a Triple Crown in the future. He's that good. He may not have the pure power potential of a George Springer or even Mikie Mahtook, but Rendon's capable of hitting 30-35 homers in the pros with a .320 batting average and a .400 on-base percentage. 

How is he not going No. 1 overall?

Oh, yeah, all the injuries. Teams hate risk. It's the worst part of prospecting, since there's so much of it. A very few percentage of players that a team spends millions of dollars on actually show any return in the majors. That's why the Pirates seem to be shying away from Rendon. It's not that his talent has dropped; they just like the lowered risk of a guy like Gerritt Cole or Danny Hultzen.

Make no mistake, though, Rendon is the most talented player in this draft. If he can't play third base, he moves to a corner outfield spot and makes 5-10 All-Star teams. Just click through to that video breakdown from Project Prospect. They compare his wrists to Hank Freakin' Aaron! Suffice it to say I'm on the Anthony Rendon Bandwagon.

Floor

Well, if his injuries limit him in the field, he'll be a left fielder/first base-type who has a career like Lyle Overbay. His floor also could be like Justin Smoak's, in that he's limited defensively and his hitting shows flashes in the minors but doesn't appear to translate to the majors (yet). Still, because of his polish, Rendon's floor is higher than any other hitter in this draft.

Ceiling

The sky is literally the limit here. What comparison do you want to make? Hank Aaron? Roberto Clemente? Mike Schmidt? He's got a chance to be as good a hitter as any of those guys, but I wonder if his defense/injuries will force his ceiling down a bit to somewhere like Rusty Staub. I think the Mariners would be okay with that.

Will the Astros pick him?  If so, where?

Not even close. If Rendon falls out of the top 2, I'll eat my hat.

Where is he projected to go right now?

Keith Law had him at No. 2 to the Mariners.

Deep Leagues had him at No. 1 to the Pirates.

Jonathan Mayo had him at No. 2 to the Mariners.

Perfect Game USA had him at No. 2 to the Mariners

Baseball America had him at No. 1 to the Pirates.

John Sickels had him at No. 1 to the Pirates.

Bibliography (Scouting Reports and video)

Below the jump




Baseball America:

The 6-foot, 190-pounder has tremendous strength in his hands and wrists, uncanny hand-eye coordination and exceptional strike-zone discipline. Teams have pitched around him all season, and he was the runaway NCAA Division I leader with 66 walks. His bat speed and ability to barrel balls give Rendon more usable power than any player in the draft, with scouts projecting the righthanded hitter to bat .300 with 25-30 homers a year in the major leagues.

Keith Law:

His bat speed is outstanding and he's an extremely disciplined hitter who is willing and able to lay off a pitch a few millimeters outside the strike zone. When healthy, he's a plus defender at third base with a great first step and a plus arm. Even without any physical projection remaining -- he's just under six feet and well-built, but doesn't look like he'll add much weight going forward -- he's the kind of hitter who could win batting titles with average to above-average power.

Project Prospect

To reiterate what Veteran Scout said earlier: "Plus power, plus hit tool, plus arm, solid glove" and a mechanically fantastic swing to boot. On top of all that, he adds in outstanding patience at the plate. He doesn't just dictate the at-bat the second he walks into the box, he rules it with an iron fist. Rendon has a great understanding of the strike zone, is disciplined, and has the swing built to optimize pitch tracking, quickness and raw bat speed. He has everything needed to be an all-star level player in the Major Leagues. 

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