As the Washington Nationals head south to sunny Florida for Spring Training, they take with them a handful of interesting positional battles. Anthony Rendon is at the heart of one of the most intriguing battles at second base.
Rendon was drafted in the first-round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft and made his MLB debut this past season. Thanks to a wrist injury that sent Danny Espinosa to the minors, Rendon got his chance just two years after he was drafted. He took that opportunity and made the most of it.
Almost immediately, he established himself as one of the players to be aware of if you were a starting pitcher facing Washington. In 22 games played in the month of June, his first full month in MLB, he got a hit in all but five games including a nine-game streak. He finished the season with a slash line of .265/.329/.396 with 35 RBI, seven homers and 23 doubles.
This Spring Training, however, Rendon will have to prove himself all over again, as will Espinosa. The two will lock horns in a Spring Training-long battle over the starting job at second base. Both have their strengths, and both have their weaknesses. Rendon is a better hitter, but Espinosa is a better defender.
Regardless of who wins, both will remain with the major league club. Whoever loses this battle will simply sit on the bench. However, I believe that Rendon will come out the winner. He’s a much better hitter than Espinosa, and I don’t think they lose that much defensively. The hot bat of Rendon is what will truly set him apart.
The battle brewing in Spring Training at second base ought to be a fun one to watch. Both Rendon and Espinosa bring a lot to the table, but expect Rendon to be the starting second baseman come Opening Day.