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.