On Thursday night, the book officially closed on Anthony Rendon's tenure in D.C.
It's been nearly six months since the star third baseman departed Washington and signed a seven-year, $245 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels. However, there was still one lingering ripple effect of the deal that had yet to settle.
Rendon rejected a qualifying offer from the Nationals before he hit free agency, granting Washington a draft pick in between the second and third rounds should he sign with another team.
With that pick, which landed at No. 77 overall, Washington selected 18-year-old shortstop Sammy Infante out of Monsignor Edward Pace High School in Florida. Although he's committed to attending the University of Miami in the fall, Infante plans to sign with the Nationals and forego a college career.
"I believe I'm going to go play pro ball with the Nationals," Infante said on a Zoom call after he was drafted Thursday night. "I think I'm ready, I'm healthy, I think they got a huge steal…and I can impact their organization significantly in the infield position."
Infante was ranked the 149th overall player in the draft by MLB Pipeline and 154th by Baseball America. A product of the same high school that developed major leaguers Gio Gonzalez and Alex Fernandez as well as 2019 first-round pick Jeter Downs, Infante boosted his stock significantly last summer with a strong performance in front of scouts at the East Coast Pro Showcase in Alabama.
"It was a great outing by me," Infante said. "I literally showed a glimpse of what I can do in the future. I did everything well from defense to running, hitting, I threw the ball very well. I just played my game. I played my game with confidence and it's something that carried on."
Listed at 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, Infante is considered an athletic player with no specific standout tool but instead a collection of above-average attributes. He said he's comfortable playing multiple positions, something the Nationals often do with young infield prospects-most recently Carter Kieboom and Luis Garcia.
At the plate, scouts say Infante has shown power potential on his pull side but makes inconsistent contact. He's a player that started to show he was putting it all together this spring before the coronavirus pandemic cut his senior season short. If that's the case, the Nationals lucked out as Infante may have gone higher with more opportunities to showcase his development.
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