Last weekend, the Nationals were dealt a blow to their everyday lineup. With center fielder Adam Eaton suffering a torn ACL, the Nationals will have to find an new source of production at the top of their lineup. For the meantime, Michael Taylor will take the reins in center. Taylor, who has jumped around at both the big league level and the minors, has the ability to produce at the plate and in the field; however, Taylor won’t be able to completely fill the void at the top of the order. Third baseman Anthony Rendon, while not necessarily a top-of-the-order hitter, can help make up for Adam Eaton’s absence at the plate.
Anthony Rendon can Help Make Up for Adam Eaton’s Absence at the Plate
With Eaton out for the remainder of the year, the rest of the Nationals lineup will have to pick up the slack a bit to help make up for his absence; Rendon can help do just that. While not a center fielder, nor a top-of-the-order hitter (usually), Rendon has been a reliable contact hitter for the Nationals, when healthy.
With the exception of the 2015 season, Rendon has been a solid force in the Nationals order. However, he got off to a rough start in the 2017 season.
Hitting just .226 24 games into the season, Rendon was struggling to get on base and advance runners. Over the past week, he’s appeared to have found his stride.
Rendon’s Recent Resurgence
Kickstarted by a historic 6-6 day at the plate in which he hit three home runs and drove in 10 runs, Rendon snapped out of his year-long slump in a big way. Ever since his career game, Rendon has been a consistent force at the plate.
Including his Sunday afternoon fireworks, Rendon is 12 for his last 23 plate appearances, with five home runs. For the year, he is now hitting .290, to go along with five homers and 22 RBI. After Ryan Zimmerman (who has been remarkable this year), Rendon has been arguably the Nationals second best hitter over their past few series. Can Rendon keep up the heroics?
If he can do so, or at least play up to his career standards, Rendon can most definitely help soften the loss of Eaton in the order.
Rendon can Help Make Up for Eaton’s Absence in the Order
Before injury struck him, Eaton was hitting .297, and drove in 13 runs at the top of the order for the Nationals. However, even with his recent absence, the Nationals still have arguably the best lineup in all of baseball. Leading the majors in team average (.288), total runs scored (189), on-base percentage (.363), slugging (.494), OPS (.857), and total hits (307), the Nationals lineup has performed at legendary and unstoppable heights. Rendon, though, has only hit at a high level for the past week.
Given that he’s struggled for the majority of the year at the plate, it’s not ludicrous to think that if Rendon can produce at the level he’s accustomed to going forward, the Nationals lineup could become even more dangerous. If he can do that, then Rendon could also help mitigate the loss of Eaton, by adding a contact, yet powerful, bat in the middle of the order.