Once again, Anthony Rendon does not get the recognition he deserves. He is arguably the best third baseman in the league. He does everything well — hitting, fielding, throwing, baserunning. Part of the problem is there is no player less likely to self-promote than Two Bags. In the epic 23-5 drubbing of the Mets, he went 6-for-6 with three homers and 10 RBI, but in the post-game interview, he praised the pitching, flat out denying Dan Kolko any self-praise whatsoever. Joe Ross failed to complete 5 innings that day, giving up 5 ER on 7 hits and two home runs. His interviews have become him dodging any questions from MASN Dan that have anything to do with patting himself on the back. Getting snubbed from the All-Star Game probably matters less to Rendon than any other player. He simply is not the baseball rat that Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Daniel Murphy, Stephen Strasburg, or Ryan Zimmerman is. Since Anthony in unwilling to do it, this space at The Nats Blog will do it for him.
To the following All-Star Game participants, Anthony Rendon is better than you and you owe your spot on that roster to his genuine humility. Let’s start with the most egregious offender…
Jake Lamb: In what world is Jake Lamb more deserving than Two Bags? Playing the same position, Rendon is better in every aspect of the game, and has a 1.6 higher WAR. Lamb is below replacement level with the glove, while Rendon is the third highest rated defensive third baseman behind Nolan Arenado and Manny Machado. Lamb draws a good amount of walks, posting a .376 OBP and an impressive 13% walk rate. Anthony Rendon is better, with a .399 OBP and 14.5% walk rate. Jake Lamb strikes out a quarter of the time — Anthony Rendon strikes out less than he walks: 13.5%. Lamb also has an impressive 18 home runs, and this is probably what got him this spot over Rendon — that, and probably some hallucinogenic drugs. Rendon has an almost identical ISO, one-one-thousandth of a point behind Lamb at .258 to .257. However, Rendon has the higher overall slugging, .554 to .540. Rendon is higher in just about every advanced metric as well, including wRC, wRC+, and wOBA.
Charlie Blackmon: This one is going to ruffle a few feathers—mostly Rockies fans who don’t understand what home-road splits mean. Coors Field should be designated as a PED. There is no bigger artificial enhancer of offensive numbers than that abomination of a park. No one benefits more than this Jayson Werth beard wannabe pretender. There is no more overrated player on the All-Star team than Chuck Nazty. Case-in-point:
- Home: .390/.447/.816, 154 PA, 8 doubles, 10 triples, 10 home runs.
- Away: .261/.309/.409, 221 PA, 9 doubles, 0 triples, 7 home runs.
Away from that syringe of a stadium, Blackmon is barely a starter on a contender, let alone the All-Star Team. In 67 more PAs on the road, he has 12 fewer extra-base hits. His K rate drops 6 percentage points in Coors; his walk rate increases 4.5 percentage points. He is the very definition of a Coors Creation. Anthony Rendon is better; in fact, Michael A. Taylor is better. This just in: Blackmon will participate in the home run derby. Someone has an over-inflated sense of self-worth.
DJ LeMahieu: Most Nats fans already dislike LeMahieu for his spineless sitting on the bench to end the season to guarantee his batting title over Murphy. Ted Williams’ frozen head is shaking in disapproval. Despite playing beer league softball in Denver, LeMahieu is hitting .303/.361/.381. What deserving all star slugs under .400 when half their games are in that thin air? Answer: No one. There is no sane reason DJ is on this team, other than to be near real hitters like Two Bags. LeMahieu has a .077 ISO — again, playing in Coors Field. He is a slap and tickle, Punch-and-Judy hitter with minimal power. He is a very good defender at second base, but isn’t worthy to be Rendon’s bat boy. Plus, he sat on a batting title. That sort of cowardice should not be rewarded.
Josh Harrison: The only reason Josh Harrison is on this team is because the Pirates needed a representative. This is the rare case a reliever might be the better choice—as former Nat Felipe Rivero has been unhittable. But even Harrison is more deserving than LeMahieu—with a .448 SLG and a .159 ISO, his offensive numbers dwarf LeMahieu’s almost as much as Rendon’s dwarf Harrison’s.
Nolan Arenado: If naming Charlie Blackmon on this list upset Rockies fans, this is really going to chafe their chickens. No one disputes Arenado is an elite defender and the best defensive third baseman in the game. He makes outstanding play after outstanding play. He is certainly better fielder than Rendon. However, Rendon is better in every other aspect. Arenado is an impressive hitter — he is one of the few legitimate Colorado hitters. However, he is not as good as Rendon. Tony leads Arenado in just about every significant statistical category, including WAR. Rendon doubles Arenado’s walk rate and has a lower K-rate, higher ISO, equal wRC, but a higher wRC+ (the one where ball park factors are incorporated). He even has three more home runs while not playing in Coors! Unlike his Colorado teammates, Arenado is a deserving All-Star, just not at the expense of Rendon.
Kris Bryant: As part of the Final Vote — and, thanks to ballot-stuffing bandwagon Cubs fans, the likely winner — the reigning MVP is included here. Rendon is having a better year than him too — as is becoming a common theme — in every aspect of the game. After a hot start, Bryant has cooled. While maintaining a high walk rate, his slugging has dropped off every month. Rendon is the opposite. A notorious slow starter, he has been on an MVP-level tear. A far superior defender, Rendon leads in every offensive category as well.
The only real threat to Rendon’s superiority is Justin Turner — a very good defender and outstanding hitter. He has a higher WAR in 17 fewer games. While health is a factor, Turner has been terrific, and deserves to be included in the game as well. Only one of Bryant, Rendon, and Turner will eventually make it — most likely Bryant, though Turner led the final vote in the first update. Not that Tony really cares all that much. He would probably like the break, but the All-Star Game is a showcase of the best of the best, and clearly, it’s leaving out some of the very best.Tags: Anthony Rendon, Nationals, Nats, Washington Nationals