WASHINGTON -- Tell National League Final Vote Candidate Anthony Rendon that he is the MVP of the Nationals during the first half of the 2014 season, he will start laughing and tell you that someone in the Nationals' bullpen deserves that honor.
"You just can't label one player as an MVP," Rendon said. We have to give credit to everybody. Our bullpen has been spectacular. We had a run where we didn't score a lot of runs in those games and our bullpen kept us in those games. I credit our bullpen for that."
But the humble Rendon deserves that honor as team MVP. In Monday's game, Rendon, 24, hit a game-tying two-run homer in the sixth, and he's among the team leaders in RBIs and runs scored. He's also an above-average second baseman and third baseman.
No wonder he is an NL Final Vote candidate, and he needs the help of Nationals fans to become a member of the NL All-Star team.
"I think Anthony continues to understand himself and what he can and can't do," manager Matt Williams said. "For me, I think he's shown more power than anybody expected him to show. … But I think the things that stood out for me is him being able to drive the baseball, especially to the left-center-field and to his pull side. I think he's shown that he has more power than people thought he had."
The one thing that sticks out for Rendon's teammate, Adam LaRoche, is his demeanor on and off the field. No can tell if he went 4-for-4 or 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
"He has ability to stay the same in any situation," LaRoche said. "To be as consistent as he has been, you just don't see that in young guys. It's something that takes a few years to pick up on. He just has that mindset. It's not just done on the surface. That's his personality. He is very level headed along with being competitive. He wants to be the best at what he does. I love the kid."
LaRoche said it also helps that Rendon has a spiritual background. LaRoche is not sure if that's what drives his teammate, but Rendon realizes there is a bigger picture than just making money in Major League Baseball.
"He has a great perspective and outlook on life. Whether you want to believe it or not, it absolutely translates onto his performance on the baseball field," LaRoche said. "For young guys that come up, this is life or death. This is all they ever dreamed about and they are going to do everything they can do to not screw it up. It can consume guys and it actually drags you down. … [Rendon's] outlook on life, he has a lot of fun doing it. Whatever happens, happens. That is a pretty good recipe for an All-Star-caliber player."
Rendon credits his parents for being cool, calm and collected. In fact, they have a deal where they don't talk baseball off the field.
"They are both the same way like me," Rendon said about his parents. "You can't let anything get to you. There is always tomorrow. They also taught me to be humble. They are not very loud people. They are quiet like me."
Immediately following the announcement of the American League and National League All-Star rosters on Sunday, fans began voting to select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each league until the winners are announced after the voting concludes on Thursday at 4 p.m. ET.
Fans can also cast votes on the mobile web at MLB.com/vote or via text message. To receive the Final Vote ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for a specific player, fans can text their choice to 89269. For example: Text "A3" to vote for AL Player 3 or "N3" to vote for NL Player 3. Standard message and data rates may apply. Text "STOP" to end and "HELP" for information. Mobile voting in Canada also is available and fans should text their choices to 101010.
For the third consecutive year, the All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote will include social balloting participation, as Twitter support from the 10 candidates' fans over the last six hours of balloting will count toward their final vote totals. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag will be tabulated as part of the official vote total used to determine the winners. Fans will be able to follow @MLB for the latest standings updates over the course of the entire four-day voting period.
The hashtags and text designations are as follows:
Dallas Keuchel: #VoteKeuchel (A1)
Corey Kluber: #VoteKluber (A2)
Rick Porcello: #PickRick (A3)
Garrett Richards: #VoteGRich (A4)
Chris Sale: #TargetSale (A5)
The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again allow fans to help choose the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com and via Twitter in the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.TV Premium subscribers, for the first time, will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 platforms that support MLB.TV, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less