Position Player: Anthony Rendon
We have already focused our attention on Ryan Zimmerman, Bryce Harper, and Trea Turner. While Jayson Werth had a fantastic weekend only five short days ago, he is not playing in Philadelphia, where he thrives on the boo birds. However, Anthony Rendon has emerged as one of the hottest hitters in the nation’s capital.
As we hit the mid-point of May, Rendon has turned it up to reach .285/.371/.455 with five homers and fifteen runs scored. Against the Phils last weekend, he was 5-11 with two homers, two runs scored, and five RBI. He currently holds a seven-game hitting streak and has hit safely in eight of the team’s last nine games.
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He is a career .273/.348/.435 hitter at National’s Park with 30 career homers there. And his career numbers against the Phillies are eerily similar to those exact marks (.276/.349/.453) in 65 games played. Interestingly enough, the Phils are running out the same exact starters for the weekend series, so the way in which Phillies pitchers approach Rendon will be something to watch.
The 26-year-old has controlled the plate fairly well against righties this season, especially against the fastball. He has done an incredible job with fastballs in the zone. In order to get him out consistently, it has to be way in on his hands or else, it finds a pretty large hot zone.
Rendon’s approach is to look at ways to drive the ball to the opposite field. Breaking pitches and anything offspeed on the outer half of the plate normally results in his driving the ball to right field. However, the occasional breaking pitch down in the middle of the zone or in from a righty has caused him problems.
Rendon has been hot, and the Phillies can’t afford to let him stay on fire this weekend. With a lineup as deep and talented as the Nationals have, the Phils have to find somewhere to draw the line in the one through eight.