Anthony Rendon Sparking Turnaround For Washington Nationals Offense

By Thom Tsang
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe there’s some hope for the Washington Nationals‘ offense after all.

Winners of four out of their last six, the Nats have scored five or more runs in four of those games; and while their 18th-ranked (tied with the Chicago Cubs) run production of 29 over the last seven days isn’t anything to write home about, it’s a start to climbing out of the second-last place that they’ve been mired in.

And the person leading the way? Well, it not Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman, or rest of the usual suspects. It’s not even leadoff man Denard Span (who is still scuffling, by the way).

No, the spark plug that Washington has found is Anthony Rendon, the rookie who is getting his second chance at the bigs in 2013 right now, and is simply running away with the opportunity. Though the flexibility to play both second and third is a plus for the Nationals, the real asset with the youngster, as it’s always been, is his bat — and he’s more than showing what he’s capable of at the plate.

Including Friday’s 2-for-5 performance with a run scored that helped the Nats secure a 7-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks to move back to .500 for the season, the rookie has now hit in five straight games, with four of them being the multi-hit variety and two doubles mixed in.

Oh, and did I mention that this follows a nine-game hitting streak that he had to start the season?

So there’s really only been two games that he hasn’t hit in over the 17 he’s played for the Nationls in June, and just one where he did not reach base by either a walk or a hit. In all, he’s been hitting to the tune of a splendid .371/.397/.529 triple-slash in 73 PA since being called up for the second time this year, good enough to lead the team’s current regulars in all categories besides slugging percentage.

Sure, his glove might be a bit lacking in the middle infield (-1.2 fielding runs), but it’s hard to argue against his 35.9 percent line drive rate for the season which has bolstered his .403 BABIP. He’s showing fantastic discipline (5.3 percent swinging strikes), and is otherwise tearing the cover off the ball.

And with Bryce Harper‘s return being slated for next week, the Nationals have to be feeling pretty good about just what kind of damage this potential 1-2 punch will be able to unleash as the season rolls on.

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