On April 29th, Anthony Rendon had a .226/.316/.250 line, two doubles and five RBIs in 22 games and 95 plate appearances, over which he’d collected 11 walks and 19 Ks.
Rendon’s 6 for 6, three home run, 10 RBI game on April 30th bumped that line up to .278/.356/.411 in one night.
In 19 games in May heading into last night’s matchup with the Seattle Mariners, the soon-to-turn 27-year-old third baseman had a .279/.413/.590 line, five doubles, one triple, five home runs, 13 RBIs, 14 walks and 11 Ks in 75 PAs.
Rendon went 3 for 4 with two home runs and five RBIs in the series opener with the Mariners, leaving him with a .278/.381/.483 line on the year.
He went 1 for 3 with a three-run blast in the second of three with Seattle in D.C., a 4-1 win for the Nationals.
Dusty Baker told reporters last August, that Rendon’s early-season struggles in April of 2016 were tied to his hands.
He posted a .254/.341/.406 line, 18 doubles, nine home runs, 43 walks and 75 Ks in 88 games and 370 PAs in the first half, then posted a .291/.357/.508 line with 20 doubles and 11 home runs in 68 games and 277 PAs in the second-half of the season, fulfilling Dusty Baker’s call that he was his “pick to click” after the All-Star Break.
Rendon’s hands, Baker said, “are unbelievable... some of the quickest hands offensively and defensively. That’s what impressed me in Spring Training, the first time I ever saw him.”
“You watch Anthony Rendon and how he uses his hands — earlier in the year, his hands were — I think they were a little banged up,” Baker explained, “and he was using more arms than hands and now he’s using his hands. And boy, when he’s on time, the ball — he does it so effortlessly, and I enjoy watching him hit.”
Baker said last night that Rendon’s early-season struggles this season were tied to his hands as well.
“His hands were bothering him earlier in the year,” the manager told reporters, “but he’s as good a hands-hitter as there is around, and an outstanding clutch hitter, hits the ball to all fields and you know, he had a pretty good April for him, but he’s had an outstanding May.
“Now we’ve got four guys with 30 RBIs or more, so that’s a pretty balanced offense and it’s really needed with him batting behind [Daniel Murphy], because he’s going to get a lot of chances, and so every time it seemed like I give Anthony a day off from time to time he responds with outstanding ability and outstanding offensive outbursts.”
Baker was asked how Rendon’s production thus far has matched his goals/expectations for his third baseman.
“I didn’t have any goals set for him actually,” Baker said.
“Anthony is a guy that can hit all over the order. He’s one of the few guys that feels comfortable he’s going to be Anthony. Last year at the All-Star Break I set a goal for him and he succeeded and surpassed that. You just want Anthony to be healthy and strong. He plays an outstanding third base, he’s an outstanding baserunner and this is Anthony early. Last year Anthony came on late, just like Jayson Werth did, and so you hope that they’re — when the weather heats up they’ll heat up even more.”