Prev. Drafted: Braves ’08 (27)
Birthdate: June 6, 1990
SCOUTING PROFILE: The 6-foot, 195-pound Rendon was the nation’s dominant offensive player in his first two years at Rice, hitting .388-20-72 as a freshman and .394-26-85 with a 65-22 walk-to-strikeout ratio as a sophomore. He won the 2010 Golden Spikes Award, given annually to the nation’s top college player, and conceivably could have been the first player drafted in 2010 if he was eligible. Even in a much deeper college crop, he was the front runner to go first overall this year when the 2011 college season started. But that was before he suffered a shoulder injury early in the season that relegated him to a DH role most of the spring and robbed him of bat speed. At the plate, he has been a mere shadow of his former self. Rendon still led Rice through 48 games in batting, at .333, but his power numbers are off drastically—to just four homers and 29 RBIs. He still led the nation in walks by a wide margin (65, compared to 49 for his closest competitor), a sign of the respect he still commands in the batter’s box, but he’s not the same hitter and it’s unclear now where he might be drafted. Scouts are perplexed about the severity of his injury, and whether surgery may be required to rectify the situation. Rendon is a high-profile player, and easily ranks as one of the top college hitters in the last decade. When healthy, both his raw power and overall hitting ability grade out as superior tools. Rendon, who played shortstop in high school, is not flashy defensively, but is very steady around the bag, with good lateral actions, and has a strong, accurate arm. He has excellent instincts at the hot corner and committed only five errors there in 2010—a remarkable total for a college third baseman. But he has been limited to just 21 chances in the field this season because of his nagging shoulder injury. Scouts have obviously raised the question whether Rendon may be injury-prone generally as he incurred severe ankle injuries in each of the last two summers that led to surgery on both occasions. That effectively killed his chances of performing with USA Baseball’s college national team, and cost scouts an opportunity to see him swing with wood over an extended stretch. That was obviously not a deterrent in his lofty draft standing to begin the season, and scouts have long been impressed with his short, quick, fluid swing throughout his college career at Rice, along with his discerning eye and advanced sense of plate discipline. He should have no trouble transitioning to professional baseball—if he’s healthy.
Projected Draft Position: Early first round.
Perfect Game Events Attended
2007 World Wood Bat Association World Championship (Jupiter, Fla.)