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Anthony Rendon is the most underrated player in baseball

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If you asked almost any baseball fan about Anthony Rendon, their response would be something along the lines that he is “good”. However, no one is going to say that he is the best third baseman in all of baseball. No one thinks about him having one of the best bats in the game. If you mention his defense, many won’t say that he is an elite fielder. So, why is this? Are these questions true? That’s what I am going to answer in this article in addition to telling you why many fans can’t accurately answer these questions.

The biggest advocates for Anthony Rendon are obviously National’s fans. They are the ones that know the answers to the questions that I just asked in the previous paragraph. They may think that they showing him support by trying to make others think of him as one of the best players in baseball. Just look below, earlier in the season that Nationals tweeted pushing to help gain Rendon more exposure and appreciation for playing so well.

Except, it’s that same franchise that is responsible for him flying under the radar in the first place. It wasn’t something that the franchise did on purpose. Anthony Rendon has been playing in the shadow of Bryce Harper who was the face of DC. Harper is considered to be one of the best players in baseball and so he took the spotlight away from Rendon. Harper wasn’t the only player either that contributed to a lack of attention for Rendon. Players like Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg also drew a lot of attention to themselves for their outstanding success and for being one of the most hyped pitchers as a prospect, respectively. The point is, the Nationals have a lot of star power and it has worked against Rendon. He has received so little attention across the league for being overshadowed by glorified prospects and one of the best pitchers in the history of baseball.

Now though, Harper is gone and the Nationals need a star. Speaking of which, Rendon has never been selected to an all star game. Just another reason to add to the list as to why he receives so little recognition. However, this year is looking good and he may finally find himself at the mid summer classic. In regards to the Nationals searching for a star, some consider Soto to be the future of the franchise but Rendon should be the leader of this team. He is in a contract year though and with the Nationals appearing as a non-contending team, he may be traded around the deadline. He deserves a major payday and he is going to get one soon enough. If he stays and signs a long-term deal he will emerge as a leader. If he goes somewhere else via free agency, maybe it will be the opportunity for him to finally receive the recognition he deserves.

So, there it is, you can see how and why Rendon is so underrated. Now it’s time to line him up in comparison to the rest of the league. It’s time to answer the hard questions. Is he one of the best players in the league? Is he the best third baseman in the league? How good is his defense?

Let’s establish a baseline so that for you readers who don’t know how good he is, can see the numbers that he has put up over his career. So, take a look below to see his career statistics. It’s covered in red since he has ranked so high in offensive performance year after year.

Data via Baseball Savant

You can look at those numbers and think that Rendon is good. For something to be good, it has to be better than something else in comparison. Which means, there must also be something that’s bad. My point is, you know that he is good based on the chart above because the red indicates that he is better than others. However, if I am advocating that he is the best in the league than we need to see where he specifically ranks among the best.

The best statistic to measure a players overall performance is WAR. Since it factors in as many factors as possible that are quantifiable, it is the best one statistic to compare one player to another. If Rendon is one of the best third basemen in the league right now than only the past few years should be considered and not the duration of his career. So, take a look below at the third baseman WAR leaderboard from 2017 up to the current day.

Data via FanGraphs

So, there he is, sitting at the top of all third baseman in the league. The argument writes itself. Right now, Rendon is the best third baseman in all of baseball. He is only getting better too which I am sure you saw earlier in his career statistics chart. So, odds are this will continue. Not to mention, his statcast numbers are higher this year than any he has had up to this point. His barrel% and average exit velocity are career highs, specifically, his barrel% is seven percent higher than any year before. He’s getting even better and the future is looking good for him.

So you’ve seen that he is without a doubt the best third baseman in the league. He is an entire win better than the second best third baseman in that time period. So now, let’s evaluate the same time period but consider every player in the game of baseball, regardless of position.

Data via FanGraphs

There you have it, he ranks third best among every single player since 2017. So, he is without a doubt, one of the best players in all of the league. My case is easy to argue, Rendon is good and it’s about time he starts receiving recognition for it.

The last question that I posed at the beginning of the article was about how good of a defender Anthony Rendon is. I believe that many don’t seem to think he is an elite fielder and the reason for it is simple. Right now in baseball, the third base position is filled with fielders who are extremely good. Nolan Arenado, Matt Chapman, and even Alex Bregman are so good at their position that they make many forget about the others. However, after taking a look at the numbers Rendon has put up at the hot corner, we can’t forget about him either. You can see below that from 2017 to the current date, Rendon is only second among all third baseman in Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR).

Data via FanGraphs

Anthony Rendon is the best third baseman in all of baseball. When I began writing this article, this wasn’t the conclusion that I planned on making. My goal was to inform readers that Rendon is simply an excellent third baseman and is underrated by everyone in baseball. Except, after taking a look at how he ranks in all aspects of his game, he really is the best third baseman in all of baseball right now.

The future is unclear for Rendon as he sits in the last year of his contract. He may be resigned by the Nats or he may be traded come to the deadline. Regardless, it’s about time Rendon starts getting credit for his success. After all, Anthony Rendon is the best third baseman in baseball.

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