Nationals Being Cautious About Rendon, Will Sit Out Arizona Fall League

Anthony Rendon will not join the likes of Bryce Harper and Matt Purke in the Arizona Fall League this week, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. Instead the prized infielder will spend time recuperating from a shoulder injury that allowed him to fall into the Washington Nationals’ lap with the sixth overall pick in last season’s draft.

“Rendon will not play in the Fall League, at least at the start, as he builds arm strength and improves his throwing form in the wake of a shoulder injury that forced him into a designated hitter role during his junior year at Rice. Rendon and the Nationals are confident Rendon’s shoulder has healed, but he needs to regain his full throwing ability.”

This news is a bit discouraging in the sense that it’s an indication that Rendon’s bum shoulder may be in worse shape than Nats fans had hoped. His injury had been downplayed upon being drafted by Washington, and his massive potential and talent helped overshadow his obvious struggles his senior season. But news that he may not be ready to compete this month in the minor league’s annual autumn showcase of talent is a bit concerning on one hand, and a huge letdown on the other. With no minor league playing experience in 2011, his chances of making a push to join the Nats in 2012 will be greatly hurt.

The positive takeaway from this is that the Nationals are being proactive in making sure that his injury gets fully healed. Hopefully the time to rest will mean he will be back 100% come spring, which is better shape than he has been in at any point over the last year. Looking at his numbers, it is obvious that Rendon was playing through this injury during his last year at Rice, which could not have helped. Despite being a near lock to be the No. 1 overall pick in 2011 entering the college season, his poor performance coupled with injury speculation is what caused him to fall to Washington.

Here are his year-by-year numbers:

  • Freshman – .388/.461/.702, 20 HR, 72 RBI (282 AB)
  • Sophomore – .394/.530/.801, 26 HR, 85 RBI (226 AB)
  • Junior – .327/.520/.523, 6 HR, 37 RBI (214 AB)

As you can see he had an unbelievable drop in production in what should have been the best year of his college career. He was also forced to play mostly designated hitter, as opposed to his native position, third base. Keep in mind, though, that these numbers were also likely affected by a switch in college baseball bat rules, and the fact that Rendon was often pitched around.