The way Anthony Rendon started spring training was the way the Nationals' expected him to be able to hit when they drafted him sixth overall in 2011.
The former Rice standout Rendon has gone 7-for-16 (.438) with three doubles, including two homers in his first week of camp, begging the question, could the young third baseman possibly jump straight to the Nationals come April?
"No," Nationals Manager Davey Johnson said to the Washington Post. "He needs the reps. He needs to play."
The 22-year-old Rendon needs a full season of reps -- with no complications -- before the organization is ready to bring him up. His entire 2012 season was abbreviated thanks to what he called a "freak accident" last April while playing for Single-A Potomac at Lynchburg. He battled all the way back to the minors late in the season, and then shined in the Arizona Fall League.
He said then that the ankle injury could have happened playing any lateral sports, like basketball, which he played as a teenager. Now his ankle is back to full strength.
With Rendon completely healthy, the Nationals want to see their young phenom get a full season in the minors and then a possible September call-up. Rendon was able to get a lot of games early this spring training as third baseman Ryan Zimmerman gets time to recover from off season shoulder surgery.
You can expect Rendon to play some second base in the minors this season so he can become more versatile defensively.
Coaches and scouts marvel at the strength of Rendon's wrists; his bat is under control, shows a quick swing, and he reportedly is getting good backspin when he makes clean, solid contact.
If he continues to excel at Double-A Harrisburg, September with the Nationals could come pretty quickly.