The Washington Nationals placed third baseman Ryan Zimmerman on the 15-day disabled list Saturday due to a left hamstring injury. He had not played since being injured last Wednesday night, forcing the team to make the decision to shut him down for a bit after the results of an MRI came back. In a corresponding move, Washington has promoted top prospect Anthony Rendon to take Zimmerman’s place in the lineup.
Rendon was the sixth overall pick in 2011 out of Rice, and made it to Double-A in his first professional season in 2012 despite missing three months with a broken left ankle. Prior to his call-up, Rendon was hitting .292 with two home runs and seven RBI over 65 plate appearances for Double-A Harrisburg this season.
Zimmerman is second on the team with 11 RBI, but otherwise he has gotten off to a slow starts in terms of batting average (.226) and home runs (one) prior to being sidelined. Rendon is hitting sixth in his major league debut on Sunday, and it can be assumed that’s where he’ll be in the Nationals’ lineup for at least his first few games.
Rendon may force the Nationals to keep him in the big leagues if he hits well while Zimmerman is out, but if everyone is healthy he does not have a clear path to regular at-bats. In that scenario, the 22-year old would benefit from playing every day in Double or Triple-A rather than riding the bench behind a largely established infield in Washington.
From a fantasy baseball perspective, Rendon has the most value as a replacement for Zimmerman in NL-only leagues right now. The exact timetable for Zimmerman’s return to action is unknown, so until that is clear it’s hard to gauge Rendon’s fantasy value beyond the next two weeks. But owners in keeper leagues can now, if they didn’t already, have him on their radar.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.