Memo to the Astros
Even without a trip to the College World Series, Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon is considered one of the best in all of college baseball.
And according to Baseball America, the sport's most prestigious publication, he's number one. The magazine has named Rendon the 2010 National Player of the Year, the first player from Rice's storied program to earn the honor. Recent recipients of the award have taken the major leagues by storm, including Washington Nationals rookie rockstar Stephen Strasburg and Tampa Bay pitcher David Price.
Rendon was also named Baseball America's Freshman of the Year in 2009, making him only the second player in history to win both awards in consecutive years. (The first was longtime major leaguer Robin Ventura.) Only three underclassman had ever won National Player of the Year: Ventura, Mark Teixeira, and John Olerud.
In other words, put on some shades, kid. Your future's looking bright.
With a 2010 batting average of .394, 26 home runs and 85 RBI, Rendon is widely expected to be the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2011. With the 2011 draft order determined by the final 2010 standings with the worst team picking first, the Astros (currently owners of the third worst record in the league) appear to at least be in the running for Rendon.
As ESPN's Keith Law writes of a player who idolized Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez growing up:
"(Rendon) has one of the best swings I've seen on a college hitter, with excellent hip rotation and strong, quick hands. He pairs it with good pitch recognition and a patience that's born both of a good eye and the fact that opposing pitchers don't want to pitch to him right now. He taps his front foot twice and gets it down a little late, but everything about his transfer and swing is quick and forceful enough that it doesn't seem to affect him against college pitching. His plate coverage is good, and he can shorten his swing to square up a ball up in the zone."
A Houston-native who graduated from Lamar High School, Rendon is also trying out for the United States National Team for its international goodwill tour this summer in Japan and across the U.S.