KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson went on record earlier this spring saying that there was no way phenom Anthony Rendon would make the Opening Day roster. Of course, that was before Rendon continued his torrid Grapefruit League play by going 4-for-5 including the game-winning home run in the eighth inning of Washington's 9-7 split-squad win over the Astros at Osceola County Stadium on Wednesday.
No, Rendon, ranked the Nationals' No. 1 prospect and 28th overall by MLB.com, will still start the season in the Minors. The sixth overall pick in the 2011 Draft has just 133 professional at-bats, none higher than Double-A, because of a broken ankle last season. Then again, you'd never guess that from watching him play this spring. He's hitting .375 with four homers and 11 RBIs in 13 games.
"He's been doing it all spring. It's just fun to watch him hit. He's a very mature hitter for his age," said coach Randy Knorr, who managed the split squad. "He's everything we thought he was. You'd think he'd go through some struggles being so young, but he shows no signs of it. He's got no fear up there. He knows what he wants to do and he executes it."
Said Rendon: "It's always a positive when you don't have to go into the training room every day. That's one thing off your mind, so it's a little more free and easy right now. I always think I can play good. I just go out there and try to play my best. So if I happen to do good, I do good. If I happen to not, I'll get them next time."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.