Michael A. Taylor showed up for the mid-doubleheader press conference on Sunday afternoon in D.C., after he’d gone 4 for 7 with a double, two walks and an outfield assist in the previous two games, wearing the “Anthony is my favorite player” shirt we’ve seen Trea Turner (first!), Max Scherzer, and others wearing this season, so he, inevitably, was asked why Anthony Rendon is his favorite player?
“He’s everyone’s favorite player,” Taylor said, flashing his trademark smile.
“He’s a great ballplayer, humble guy, comes in and plays hard every day, doesn’t complain, he’s a good role model.”
“But what is he really like?” a reporter asked, noting that Rendon is notoriously press shy and uncomfortable/seemingly uninterested in promoting himself or giving much away about himself personally.
“He’s got a sense of humor,” Taylor said. “He’s really sly about it, sneaky, you have to keep an eye out, look out for the little things that he does, practical jokes, and things like that, but he comes in every day, he puts in his work in the gym, in the cage, just goes about his business, and he’s a silent assassin.”
Asked for an example, Taylor told reporters that while they were on the dais for “Faith Day” the previous evening, Rendon pulled the old “pull your chair out from under you as you sit down” trick and almost caught the outfielder unawares.
“He pulled my chair out as I was sitting down, luckily I caught the edge, but I don’t think anyone saw, so that was good,” Taylor said.
That Rendon, he’s a real cut-up. He’s also one of the best players in the National League.
Following last night’s 2 for 4, four-RBI game against Miami, in which he earned another walk...[ed. note - “Did you know Anthony Rendon walked more than he K’d in college? #ItsTrue”] Rendon has a .303/.406/.543 line, 33 doubles, 22 homers (a career-high), 71 walks, and 73 Ks in 123 games and 505 plate appearances this season, over which he’s put up 144 wRC+, and been worth 6.3 fWAR.
As of this morning, Rendon leads the National League in fWAR, is 14th in AVG, 6th in OBP, 12th in SLG, 7th in wOBA (.397), 9th in wRC+, 8th in walks, 5th in BB/K (0.97), third among NL third baseman with nine Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), first in Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR, 13.3 to Rockies’ 3B Nolan Arenado’s 7.1 UZR in 2nd), and first in UZR/150 (17.1 to Arenado’s 7.4 in second). Not bad. He’s also starting to get some consideration for NL MVP...
"The Silent Assassin," @Anthonyrendon_6, is having a career year for the NL East-leading @Nationals. #MLBCentral pic.twitter.com/9L6JEUVjdZ— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) August 30, 2017
Why is Anthony Rendon the NL MVP? To quote Daniel Murphy, “Do you go to Fangraphs at all?” @svodylan has more: https://t.co/oreMhEVDNd— Beyond the Box Score (@BtBScore) August 30, 2017
*Ahem*— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 30, 2017
National League MVP candidate Anthony Rendon just hit a bases-clearing 2B. pic.twitter.com/g8hWRN6LFG
We can all have the MVP discussion when the regular season ends, right? For now, it’s about getting through the last month and getting past the NLDS for the first time in the last four postseason appearances in the nation’s capital. But Rendon’s efforts are not going unnoticed by his teammates, manager or the Nats’ GM.
“Rendon, what can you say about this guy,” Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo said this morning on 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s The Sports Junkies.
“Since we drafted him he’s been a great player for us and really one of the players on our team that is probably as good an all-around baseball player as there is when you talk about he can hit, and he can throw and he’s a good fielder, he’s got power and average combination, but he knows the game, he’s really a student of the game, he’s got as good of baseball instincts as anybody around, he’s always in the right spot at the right time, and just instinctually commands the game like few others.”
Rough translation: He’s pretty good. #RENDONMVP... but again, we’re not going to be campaigning for #RENDONMVP until the season ends, so stop asking about why we aren’t campaigning for #RENDONMVP, ok. Thanks. #RENDONMVP.
HERE’S THE NATIONALS’ LINEUP FOR THE FINALE WITH THE MARLINS:
#Nats vs #Marlins 3 of 3: Turner SS, Difo 2B, Rendon 3B, Zimmerman 1B, Kendrick LF, Werth RF, Taylor CF, Lobaton C, Strasburg RHP— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) August 30, 2017