After selecting Rice University third baseman Anthony Rendon with the sixth pick of the 2011 MLB Draft, D.C. GM Mike Rizzo met with the press to discuss the selection. "We were pleasantly surprised that he got to us at six," Rizzo said, "Going into the draft season, he was projected to be the no.1 pick, the best college hitter in the game, and throughout the college season and the draft season he held onto that status, and as late as about twenty-four hours ago he was supposedly going one or two in the draft. So we're pleasantly surprised, we did a lot of work on him we feel we know him very very well, our Vice President of Player Personnel Roy Clark actually drafted him out of high school for the Atlanta Braves and got to know him very, very well, so we've had a long relationship with him and his family and we feel really good about it."
Rendon, in 63 games and 214 at bats this season, posted a .327/.520/.523 slash line with two doubles, six home runs and 27 RBI's, but his struggles with ankle and shoulder injuries are thought to have resulted in his falling to the Nationals at no. 6 overall. The just-turned-21-today Rendon played third in college. With Ryan Zimmerman firmly established at the hot corner in D.C., the Nats' GM was asked where Rendon would fit in with the Nats? "We think that he's athletic enough to play several different positions. 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. The 2010 National Player of the Year and a consumate, professional hitter."
Asked about the injury concerns, Rizzo said, "He had a couple of ankle surgeries and a shoulder problem this year that kept him limited to DH duties throughout most of the season, played a little bit in the field, but our medical staff has cleared his health and we feel that if that was the reason he fell to sixth, we're satisfied in the work we've done on him and we're happy to have him."
For the third straight year, the Nats will be negotiating with Scott Boras on their first round pick. Rizzo was asked what he anticipated in the negotiations, and if it might get done earlier than it did in the past two seasons? "Not sure," Mr. Rizzo responded, "the representative, Scott Boras, we've dealt with him several times, and we've got a good relationship with the agent, we've got a great relationship with the player and the family, so we feel optimistic as we do all the time that we're going to get this guy signed and playing in the Nationals' organization."