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Thread: DK : Wondering if Anthony Rendon Is Worth #1 Pick

      
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    Default DK : Wondering if Anthony Rendon Is Worth #1 Pick

    Is Rice's Rendon 'special' enough to be No. 1?
    Pirates pick first, but injury worries follow slugging third baseman
    Sunday, February 20, 2011
    By Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette



    HOUSTON -- It was early November, and Anthony Rendon took to the batter's box at Rice University's Reckling Park, eager for a few informal hacks to shake off five months of rehabilitating a broken right ankle. And, with his second swing, he homered.

    Halfway up the 60-foot tall light tower beyond left field.

    Using a wooden bat.

    Wearing a hard boot on that right foot, a sneaker on the other.

    "We thought we'd seen it all, and then that," Rice pitcher John Simms recalled. "That kid is special."

    Not everything comes so easily, though: In Rendon's first two official games coming off that injury, Friday and Saturday, he went a combined 1 for 8 with a single through the right side Saturday and little else beyond softly struck balls to the opposite field.
    "Oh, I'm not worried about him," Rice's 20-year coach, Wayne Graham, said with a shake of the head. "He's a special one."

    How special?

    Rendon, a 21-year-old third baseman with equal pedigree on offense and defense, is the consensus choice as the No. 1 prospect available in Major League Baseball's June 6 amateur draft. And the Pirates, of course, own that pick, by virtue of their 57-105 disaster last season.



    Top Prospects

    The tops 10 prospects available for Major League Baseball's June 6-8 draft, according to Baseball America's Feb. 3, edition:
    1. Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice University.
    2. Gerrit Cole, RHP, UCLA.
    3. Matt Purke, LHP, TCU.
    4. George Springer, OF, University of Connecticut.
    5. Sonny Gray, RHP, Vanderbilt.
    6. Taylor Jungmann, RHP, University of Texas.
    7. Jackie Bradley, OF, University of South Carolina.
    8. Matt Barnes, RHP, University of Connecticut.
    9. Archie Bradley, RHP, Broken Arrow High School, Oklahoma.
    10. Bubba Starling, OF, Gardner-Edgerton High School.


    There is no guarantee that the prospect and the team will converge, but, to hear folks talk about Rendon, that might be special if it happens.

    As a sophomore for the Owls last season, Rendon batted .394 with an astounding .530 on-base percentage born largely of drawing 65 walks, 12 intentional. Using every inch of his 6-foot, 190-pound frame, he also hit 26 home runs and had 85 RBIs in 226 at-bats, making him that ultra-rare player who homered more often than he struck out, just 22 times for the latter.

    All that, and he committed just five errors at third base and showed decent speed by stealing 14 bases.

    It surprised no one that he won the Dick Howser Trophy as the NCAA's top player, an award he received on the field before the game Saturday.

    Or that Baseball America, the industry's most respected publication, named Rendon its college player of the year for 2010, only the fourth underclassman in the award's 30 years. The other winners were Robin Ventura, John Olerud and Mark Teixeira.

    Then, in its Feb. 3 issue, the publication rated Rendon No. 1 among draft-eligible prospects for 2011.

    In fact, from the time Rendon's father stopped mowing the lawn to notice his 3-year-old swinging a stick at rocks, to the time Graham scouted Rendon at Texas' Lamar High School and told an assistant he was watching "Hank Aaron's wrists," to a National League scouting director recently telling Baseball America that Rendon has Evan Longoria's bat control and Ryan Zimmerman's glove, it all probably has been a blur for the young man.

    "Yeah, there's been a lot, and I hear about it," Rendon said. "It's all pretty neat. But ... wow, I'm really just thinking about my game and helping this team."
    Others, naturally, are looking further ahead.

    "This is the best draft class in years and, while that means he's not a lock to go No. 1 like Stephen Strasburg two years ago, Rendon is the clear top prospect at this point," Baseball America executive editor Jim Callis said. "He's the best hitter in college baseball, he might have the most usable power, and he's the best defensive third baseman."

    Callis contrasted Rendon to Pedro Alvarez, the Pirates' third baseman drafted No. 2 overall in 2008.

    "Think of Alvarez with a little less power but more pure hitting ability, more athleticism and no worries that he eventually has to move off third," Callis said. "Some scouting directors say they would have taken Rendon over Bryce Harper if both were in the same draft."

    Harper, a power-hitting catcher, was Washington's No. 1 overall pick last year.
    ESPN analyst Keith Law, who once scouted for Toronto, also has Rendon at No. 1.
    "He's extremely patient, with the type of pitch recognition that should put him on a fast track, and he's a third baseman with good hands, action and arm strength," Law said. "Teams picking first overall want ceiling but also some certainty that they won't get a zero return, and Rendon has the best mix of both."

    The foundation of Rendon's offensive game is an innate ability to wait for his pitch.
    "That's not something you teach," Rice hitting coach Mike Taylor said. "And Anthony's got supreme hand-eye coordination for this level, something I think he can take to the next level. He's also got the ability to keep his hands back and flick his wrists through the zone. I've been here 11 years, and the only hitter I've seen comparable through these ranks was Teixeira."

    "I try to be patient, but I've also been taught to put a hard swing on the ball, put the barrel on it every time," Rendon said. "I try not to think too much or over-analyze what the pitcher's going to do. You do that, you're going to mess up your head. Just go up there, look for your pitch, and barrel it."

    Defensively, he is a natural in every way, except that, as his coaches attest, he has worked tirelessly to improve.

    "He's got those great reflexes and, when you put that together with all the work, it's pretty good," Graham said.

    "I take a lot of pride in that," Rendon said. "My dad taught me when I was really young the importance of good defense."

    But there are issues, too, almost all related to injury: Rendon's right ankle also sustained torn ligaments in 2009, meaning it has been twice damaged, including the fracture-dislocation July 14, 2010 while playing for Team USA after the college season. Moreover, his 6-foot frame does not appear the type that will add much muscle, so durability could stay a question mark.

    "No, I'm fine," Rendon said before adding with a laugh, "Why? Do I look like something's wrong out there? It's just going to take me some time to get my timing back. It's been seven months since I played in real games."

    Indeed, if anything looked amiss this weekend, it was Rendon's timing at the plate. His swings usually were late and lunging, and his pitch recognition nowhere near its peak. But the ankle showed no ill signs, including one springing leap -- in vain -- for a double down the line Friday and a fine play moving to his left Saturday that drew an ovation from the 4,000 on hand.

    His mere presence at third base was an encouraging sign after Rice's staff had considered limiting his activity this weekend to being a designated hitter.

    "It's been really frustrating, getting hurt each of the past two years," Rendon said. "But I've done everything I need to do not just to come back but to stay on top of my game. It's not a problem."

    The Pirates are scouting Rendon -- including a presence here this weekend, plus two other recent visits -- but he is one of many prospects they expect to follow intensely. From the sound of it, their field for No. 1 is wide open, probably into double-digits.
    "Our approach remains the same as it has been the past three drafts," general manager Neal Huntington said. "We will work diligently to put the players in order and select the player we like best. The only benefit to picking first is that we know the player we want the most will not be selected by another club."

    If the Pirates draft Rendon, Alvarez could move across the diamond to first, where most scouts believe he would be better, anyway. Alvarez will remain at third this season.

    "Whoever we draft is at least 2-3 years away," Huntington said. "Moving a current major-league player in anticipation of a drafted player is not something we would consider."

    Huntington declined to specifically address any draft-eligible player.
    Industry sources back the notion that there is no broad consensus that Rendon will be No. 1: Some scouting directors are enamored, others fret about his ankle, and the majority are open-minded, in part because of a wealth of quality college pitchers, notably UCLA's flame-throwing Gerrit Cole and Texas Christian's pinpoint left-hander Matt Purke.

    Pressure on the Pirates surely will be intense, and the public reaction could be rough if they take a player other than the one widely perceived to be the best.

    That was the case in 2007, when previous general manager Dave Littlefield took reliever Daniel Moskos rather than catcher Matt Wieters, an awful choice in retrospect and one some felt was motivated by avoiding the huge dollars usually demanded by super-agent Scott Boras, who represented Wieters.

    A similar reaction probably would have come the next year, too, had Huntington not chosen Alvarez, but hindsight might be instructive here: The Pirates agonized between Alvarez and catcher Buster Posey. Alvarez was the headliner, and he was another Boras client. But Posey, as it turned out, blossomed into a superb rookie this past season in San Francisco, leading the Giants to the World Series title.

    And yes, Rendon is being advised by Boras.

    Under this management, the Pirates have been among the lowest spenders on major-league payroll, but their $30.6 million spent the past three drafts is highest of any team. That includes bonuses of $6 million for Alvarez and $6.5 million for pitcher Jameson Taillon, the No. 2 overall pick last year.

    This will be the franchise's first No. 1 overall pick in nearly a decade, and the list of the previous No. 1s underscores the importance of getting it right: Jeff King (1986) was a serviceable contributor to three division champions, but Kris Benson (1996) and especially Bryan Bullington (2002) achieved little.

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    Last edited by Kipper; Feb-28-2011 at 11:53 PM.
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    Default Re: DK : Wondering if Anthiony Rendon Is Worth #1 Pick

    Yes, Rendon is worth it and barring A) the Pirates going cheap or B) Rendon proving that he's done as a player...he WILL be the #1 pick.

    Also, I think Huntington is flat-out wrong about whoever they draft being at least 2-3 years away.
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    Default Re: DK : Wondering if Anthiony Rendon Is Worth #1 Pick

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBen2112 View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Also, I think Huntington is flat-out wrong about whoever they draft being at least 2-3 years away.
    Dude, what are you talking about?

    IF we draft Rendon, he, Boras-advised, is not going to sign until the very last possible second, meaning he won't get into ANY game situations in 2011. Let's say, for ****s and giggles, he starts at AA in 2012. Perhaps he even gets moved up to AAA before the end of the year. **Please note, that would be faster than Pedro, who also was a college player. And yes, you can say that Rendon is better than Pedro was. Whatevs.


    That means at the VERY EARLIEST, he gets to Pittsburgh in 2013. There's the "2" in your "2-3 years." And THAT is with everything going perfectly, no setbacks, great adjustments at every level.
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    Default Re: DK : Wondering if Anthiony Rendon Is Worth #1 Pick


    I was just about to post the exact same thing cocktailsfor2 posted. 2 years is an accelerated time frame for anyone. Alvarez arrived 2 years after he was drafted. June 2013 at the earliest for Rendon or whoever is selected.
    Last edited by Shaker100; Feb-20-2011 at 10:19 PM.

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    Yeah, sorry guys I meant that I don't think that it'll take him 2-3 years+his draft year. I didn't make that very clear though, sorry. I do think he'll make it as quick if not quicker than Alvarez. His overall bat is better and so is his glove.
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    Default Re: DK : Wondering if Anthiony Rendon Is Worth #1 Pick

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBen2112 View Post
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    Yeah, sorry guys I meant that I don't think that it'll take him 2-3 years+his draft year. I didn't make that very clear though, sorry. I do think he'll make it as quick if not quicker than Alvarez. His overall bat is better and so is his glove.
    These Boras clients, especially position players, could speed the clock up considerably by getting signed and playing this season. I understand the business aspect of the whole thing, but with teams trying to avoid super 2 status, players aren't likely to begin a season with the big club. Most teams are waiting till late May, early June before bringing them up. A guy like Rendon, could conceivably be up by June 2013.

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    People will laugh, but Rendon could play in the Bigs tomorrow. His swing is effortless and the power is natural. His glove would be top-5 in mlb today! His eye and pitch recognition is elite. I rarely am as high on positional players over pitchers, and that is one of the criticisms of me...Rendon is as real as Strasburg.
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    PS: I will freely admit that I see Rendon as Albert Pujols good...Chase Utley good...and Alvarez will be his Ryan Howard.
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    Default Re: DK : Wondering if Anthiony Rendon Is Worth #1 Pick

    I'm just a little concerned with Rendon's size. One website lists him as 5' 11" 170 lbs. Another says he is 6'0 190 . I know it shouldn't be that big of a deal but the guy does fall below the prototypical major league third baseman.

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    Default Re: DK : Wondering if Anthiony Rendon Is Worth #1 Pick

    Not sure I care that much about it, but I did find different numbers too.

    Interesting article on the weekend.

    The 2011 college baseball season opened this past weekend and with it, amateur scouts got a whole lot busier. With a number of the top prospects in this year's Draft class hailing from the college ranks, MLB.com will take a weekly look at the college diamond, with the 2011 Draft in mind.

    Key matchup: Stanford at Rice

    Two ranked teams, both with many top Draft prospects on their rosters. But most eyes were likely on Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon, the player many count as the No. 1 player in this year's class.

    Rendon had his summer with Team USA cut short due to an ankle injury, one that required surgery. The right-handed hitter was ready to go to start the season and played in all three games against Stanford. Rendon went 3-for-12 as the Cardinal took two of three from the Owls. All three hits were singles and Rendon, hitting third in the lineup, didn't drive in a run. But he moved well, ran well and showed off plus tools throughout the weekend.

    Some of that may have had to do with Stanford's pitching staff, of course, which gave up seven earned runs over 26 innings for an opening-weekend 2.77 ERA. Chris Reed took the one loss for Stanford, but scouts really liked what they saw from the 6-foot-4 lefty, who sat at 94 mph all night and showed a plus changeup. Another southpaw, Scott Snodgrass, is also one to watch. He came in relief and picked up the victory in the opening game of the series, going 3 1/3 innings, allowing one run on two hits and one walk while striking out five.

    Oh, remember Austin Wilson, the 2010 Draft prospect the Cardinals tried to sign away from Stanford? In his first weekend as a Cardinal, the freshman went 6-for-12 with a homer and four RBIs.

    Pitching, pitching and more pitching

    Some of the nation's best hurlers got their 2011 debuts out of the way on Friday and Saturday, largely with good results.

    UCLA's Gerrit Cole, whom many consider to be the best pure college arm in the Draft, didn't waste any time in showing why. He tossed a four-hit, complete-game shutout against San Francisco, allowing just four hits and a walk while striking out 11 over 104 pitches. UCLA has quite the 1-2 punch. Cole dominated on Friday. It was Trevor Bauer's turn on Saturday. He beat San Francisco, 4-1, allowing just one unearned run on two hits over 7 2/3 innings. He did yield four walks, but also struck out 10.

    Texas ace Taylor Jungmann was right there with Cole, twirling a shutout of his own. It took him just 95 pitches to beat Maryland and the junior right-hander allowed five hits and one walk while striking out nine. He showed three plus pitches, sitting at 94 mph comfortably all game.

    Friday was a good day to see pitchers in Texas. A&M ace John Stilson, who some see as a closer down the line, was very impressive in a starting role in a win against Le Moyne. He gave up just one unearned run over six innings, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out four. Stilson maintained his 92-93 mph throughout to go along with a plus changeup.

    Vanderbilt should have a nice duo on Fridays and Saturdays at some point this season, though Jack Armstrong didn't pitch on Saturday because of some back soreness. Friday starter Sonny Gray did pitch against San Diego and while the Commodores won, 4-3, Gray wasn't at his best: 4 1/3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K.

    TCU ace, and sophomore-eligible lefty, Matt Purke also only went four innings, though he was more effective. Purke didn't allow a run while walking one and striking out three in Texas Christian's 8-2 win over Kansas.

    Virginia lefty Danny Hultzen looks like one of the better college southpaws to watch. He went 6 2/3 strong innings, allowing just one run on three hits and a walk, striking out 10.

    Other pitching performances from the weekend:

    Anthony Meo, RHP, Coastal Carolina: 6 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 4 BB, 9 K's (Friday, no decision)
    Tyler Anderson, LHP, Oregon: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 3 K's (Friday, no decision)
    Drew Gagnon, RHP, Long Beach State: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K's (Saturday, loss)
    Matt Barnes, RHP, Connecticut: 6 IP, 3 R (2 ER), 3 H, 3 BB, 11 K's (Saturday, loss)
    Jed Bradley, LHP, Georgia Tech: 5 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 10 K's (Saturday, no decision)
    Alex Meyer, RHP, Kentucky: 7 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 13 K's (Sunday, loss)
    Austin Wood, RHP, USC: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K's (Saturday, win)
    Tony Zych, RHP, Louisville: 2 G, 2 SV, 2 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 4 K's
    Getting offensive
    Rendon isn't the only college bat who'll get plenty of first-round attention as the spring goes on. No one had a better weekend than LSU outfielder Mikie Mahtook. The junior went 4-for-9 and all four of his hits were home runs. He drove in six as LSU swept Wake Forest. Mahtook homered twice on Friday, then once each on Saturday and Sunday. He drew two walks and struck out just once in three games. Here's how some of the other hitters performed in the season's opening weekend.

    Levi Michael, SS, North Carolina: 9-for-18 (4 G), 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 RBI, 4 SB
    Jackie Bradley, OF, South Carolina: 7-for-12, 3 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI
    Peter O'Brien, C, Bethune-Cookman: 5-for-11, 1 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI
    Kyle Gaedele, OF, Valparaiso: 4-for-12, 1 2B, 5 RBI, 1 SB
    Ricky Oropesa, 3B, USC: 4-for-12, 2 2B, 4 RBI, 1 SB
    Jason Esposito, SS, Vanderbilt: 4-for-13 (4 G), 1 2B, 2 RBI, 3 SB
    Brad Miller, SS, Clemson: 3-for-8, 2 RBI, 4 SB
    Alex Dickerson, OF, Indiana: 4-for-14
    Kolten Wong, 2B, Hawaii: 3-for-11, 1 SB
    Andrew Susac, C, Oregon State: 2-for-5 (2 G), 1 2B, 1 RBI
    George Springer, OF, Connecticut: 2-for-12, 3 RBI, 1 SB
    Zach Cone, OF, Georgia: 2-for-12, 1 RBI, 1 SB
    Jason Coats, OF, TCU: 2-for-15
    Harold Martinez, 3B, Miami: 1-for-8, 1 HR, 2 RBI

    Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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    Yeah, I am really not worried about his size...with team usa he weighed in around 195...and he'll get bigger and the dude hit 26 hrs while striking out only 22 times! Lol...seriously!
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    Default Re: DK : Wondering if Anthiony Rendon Is Worth #1 Pick

    I'm pretty much with Benny on this. Rendon is really good ... when healthy. The question, the biggest question is how he rebounds from his injury and also how he performs using the new bats.Bryce Harper proved he had just as much power and ability with wooden bats and these new bats while not wooden, are supposed to mimmick wooden ones better.

    To me the question will be his rebound from his injury, so we'll get to see how he performs from that. Other than that, I'm not concerned about his size. He might not be able to jump as high as someone else but everything I've read about him defensively at 3B has been pretty positive
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    Default Re: DK : Wondering if Anthiony Rendon Is Worth #1 Pick

    Seems like Rendon is still working on getting his timing back. He's been putting the ball in play, but apparently not with a ton of authority thus far. In his first 21 times up to the plate he's put the ball in play 19 times. He has 7 singles, 1 double, 1 walk, and 1 strikeout.

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    Default Re: DK : Wondering if Anthiony Rendon Is Worth #1 Pick

    Kevin Goldstein said his top 11 draft prospects list will be coming soon and #1 is NOT Anthony Rendon.

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    Default Re: DK : Wondering if Anthiony Rendon Is Worth #1 Pick

    Rendon has big time bust written all over him. Again and again, we see this crap with the Pirates. Another paper tiger pick.

    I tend to look at this stuff as what does the player do in the clutch when it matters. Once again, who was the best player last year when it mattered in the College World Series tournament? It was Jackie Bradley Jr. in one of the most clutch performances I have ever seen. That guy will be a star. Rendon...well he might be... but Jackie Bradley Jr will be the steal of the draft for whatever team takes him.

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