Nationals

Quick Links

2016 Nats roster outlook: Is Rendon ready for another breakout year?

anthonyrendon101814.png

2016 Nats roster outlook: Is Rendon ready for another breakout year?

Age on Opening Day 2016: 25

How acquired: Drafted in 1st round, 2011

2016 salary: $2.8 million

2015 stats: 80 G, 355 PA, 43 R, 82 H, 16 2B, 0 3B, 5 HR, 25 RBI, SB, 36 BB, 70 SO, .264 BA, .344 OBP, .363 SLG, .707 OPS, 91 OPS+, 4 E, 0.3 WAR

2016 storyline: Anthony Rendon enjoyed a breakout season in 2015 and finished fifth in NL MVP voting. He bucked a personal trend by staying healthy and showed the baseball world he was worthy of the sixth overall pick the Nationals spent on him in 2011.

He was not nearly as fortunate in 2015, however, with an injury-plagued year that began with a knee injury in spring training. Now Rendon looks to 2016 hoping for much better health and results as a key cog in the Nationals' lineup.

Rendon is under team contract through 2020, but this is a big year for him. He needs to show that 2014 was not the aberration, that he can stay healthy and be counted on for years to come.

Best-case scenario: If Rendon were to go through the 2016 season in good health, it would be interesting to see if he can top the numbers he produced in 2014. They were so good, that it may not be easy.

Can he hit 25-30 homers? Can he hit over .300 and maybe even steal over 20 bases? Rendon's potential is intriguing and perhaps settling in at third base can help solidify the other parts of his game. 

Worst-case scenario: Rendon was hurt and toughed it through injuries for much of 2015, but he still played half of the season. He hit .264/.344/.363, which wasn't terrible but also fell way short of his 2014 slash-line.

Those numbers, though, were also pretty close to what Rendon recorded in 2013, his rookie season. Is he the .300-hitter many projected him to be coming out of college, or is he more like the .265-ish hitter we saw in 2013 and 2015? A full season where Rendon avoids injuries, but hits below .270 or so would perhaps raise questions about his true potential and whether it was overestimated.

Most-likely scenario: Rendon is such a natural hitter and he was so good in 2014, that it's likely he bounces back and has a solid year for the Nationals. His 2014 power numbers may be lofty benchmarks for this season, but it would not be surprising at all to see him improve on his career-high batting average of .287. The sweet-swinging third baseman has the potential to hit for .300 or more and could be the perfect complement to Bryce Harper if he can reach his ceiling.

[RELATED: Bryce Harper gives emotional acceptance speech for MVP award]

Quick Links

Its Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

Its Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

So if you have not heard, Bryce Harper is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

All off-season talking heads, baseball aficionados, radio hosts, etc. were speculating on where the outfielder’s destination will be next year.

And we are still a year away from it actually happening.

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

Reporting to spring training on Monday, Harper did not waste any time telling the media how his press conferences were going to play out this season.

“If guys do [ask], or talk anything about that, I will be walking right out the door.”

Entering his seventh season with the Washington Nationals, the 25-year-old is coming off the second-best season, statistically, of his career. The 2015 NL MVP has hit .285 in his career, with 150 home runs and 421 RBIs. Unquestionably he is the face of the Nationals’ organization, if not, the best player in the team’s history.

If he does end the season without a contract extension, he will join Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Barry Bonds as the top sought out free agents in MLB history.

One thing is for certain in terms of Harper’s free agency; Harper has given no inclination on where his landing spot will be.  The top three cities are of course his favorite childhood team, the New York Yankees; joining with one of his closest friends with the Chicago Cubs; or just staying with Washington.

Wherever he does land, it does appear that it will be the largest contract given to a free agent ever.

As for now we just wait and direct any of your calls to his agent Scott Boras.

READ ALSO: NATIONALS FULL SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

Quick Links

Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

usatsi_9977852.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

Now that pitchers and catchers have reported, the next step in our long journey to Opening Day is the spring training games themselves. Not every game is televised, so get ready to follow along with your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll still be exciting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Bryce Harper homered again, or if Max Scherzer is perfect through 4 innings (spoiler: both of these will happen).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing contracts in the next few weeks. The Nats are always willing to make a big splash, and even beyond the available free agents, have been linked to impact players like J.T. Realmuto in trade rumors.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the roster has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be happening while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for their seasons, so bookmark this page to check on the Nationals spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Nationals 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Braves at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Feb. 26 - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 1 (SS) - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Tigers at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Monday, Mar. 5 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 6 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Nationals at Tigers, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 13 (SS) - Mets at Nationals, 7:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 (SS) - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Mar. 17 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (ESPN2) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Nationals at Mets, 6:10 pm
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 - Nationals at Marlins, 7:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 27 (at Nationals Park) - Twins at Nationals, 4:05 pm