#MLBPlayers411 | Anthony Rendon

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The Washington Nationals have been the National League's best offensive team so far this season because up and down their lineup hitters have been living up to and exceeding expectations. Today's #MLBPlayers411 subject, Anthony Rendon, is a prime example.

The 27-year-old third baseman is off to one of the strongest starts of his five-year career, hitting .290 with 14 home runs and 47 RBIs. On April 30, Anthony had a career day when he went six for six with three home runs against the Mets to become just the 13th player in MLB history to get 10 or more RBIs in a game.

Anthony is also second on the team to Bryce Harper with a .395 on-base percentage and 43 walks. Grittiness is one of Anthony's best attributes as a hitter. In two-strike situations, Anthony is either hitting the ball into play or fouling the ball off 90 pct. of the time, which is best among all major leaguers with at least 100 two-strike swings.

“I try to think shorter swing with two strikes,” Rendon said. “That's how I was raised and taught the game of baseball.”

Baseball had always been Anthony's calling; according to his parents, Anthony‘s love of the game began with hitting pine cones with sticks at age three. The Richmond, Texas native was drafted by the Braves following graduation, but he decided to play college ball close to home, at Rice University. A freshman season that included a .388 batting average, 20 home runs (a Rice freshman record) and 72 RBIs earned Anthony Baseball America's Freshman of the Year, All-America honors, Freshman All-American honors, NCBWA's District VII Player of the Year, NCAA All-Regional Team, Conference USA Player of the Year, All-Conference USA and Conference USA All-Tournament Team. It's hard to imagine Anthony outperforming those numbers but that's what he did the very next season.

As a sophomore, Anthony won the Dick Howser Trophy, which is awarded to the national college baseball player of the year and became the first underclassman to become Baseball America's College Player of the Year. He hit .394 with 26 long balls and 85 RBIs.

The Nationals made Anthony the sixth overall selection in the 2011 Draft.

Anthony would have to wait just two years before making his major-league debut on April 20, 2013. He broke out in his first full big-league season a year later, hitting .287 with 21 home runs and 83 RBIs en route to finishing fifth in the NL MVP race. 

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