Washington Nationals' third baseman Anthony Rendon ended the first month-plus of his second major league season with a .316/.352/.544 line, 10 doubles, two triples and four home runs in 28 games and 122 plate appearances, over which he drew seven walks and struck out 18 times.
The Nats' 2011 1st Round pick drew one walk in his first 51 plate appearances this month over which he posted a .204/.216/.327 line with a double, triple, a home run and 10 Ks.
While he's continued to struggle at the plate over the last two weeks, there have, however, been signs that the 23-year-old infielder is coming out of his slump.
Rendon has walked 10 times in his last 10 games and 47 plate appearances, while striking out five times. He's 4 for 34 over that stretch (.118/.326/.176), but both Nationals' skipper Matt Williams and GM Mike Rizzo have said recently that they like what they see from the right-handed two-hole hitter.
Williams said he saw positive signs during the Nats' series in PNC Park. Rendon was 2 for 14 with a triple, four walks and two Ks vs the Pirates, but he put together some good, long at bats in Pittsburgh and impressed his manager with his approach.
"He hit a couple balls foul with distance today, on breaking balls," Williams said after Saturday night's game, "which tells me that he's staying on it, which is good."
Rendon went 1 for 3 with two walks and two runs scored in the series finale. After he and the rest of the Nationals (with the exception of Adam LaRoche) were shut down by the Marlins in the series opener on Monday, Rendon has a .254/.315/.426 line on the year, dragged down by his .169/.268/.265 line so far this month.
The Nationals' GM told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier today that he too saw signs the Rendon was in the process of turning things around and making some adjustments.
"He's putting great at bats on day in and day out," Rizzo said. "He doesn't take any at bats off. He grinds each and every one. He's got a great eye at the plate. He's hit into some bad luck this month, recently, and he's a guy though that takes the same approach every day, day in and day out, and puts the barrel on the ball more often than not.
"He's a guy that, again, has hit the ball hard and just doesn't have anything to show for it, but I think there will be a market correction and he'll get his hits. At the end of the day, hitters hit and guys who can hit put up good numbers and he's one of them."
Rendon put up a .344 BABIP in 122 PAs March/April. In May, that's down to .188 in 98 PAs, lending credence to Rizzo's assessment. Rendon's hardly the only one. Williams has talked recently about the Nationals continuining to do what they do at the plate. Will they start falling in for Rendon and Jayson Werth and the other Nationals that have hit the ball hard but been unlucky?