Anthony Rendon is already playing better baseball than he did to start the 2020 season, his first with the Los Angeles Angels. In eight games played, Rendon is batting his exact career batting average of .290, and has an on-base percentage slightly above his career average at .378.
However, he is falling behind in his slugging. Currently sitting a .387, his slugging percentage is over .100 lower than his career average. It’s showing in the eye test as well, as Rendon has nine hits this season, eight of them singles. He didn’t hit his first extra-base hit until a solo home run on Saturday in a blowout loss.
Rendon, who was third in the NL MVP race in 2019, knows he can be better. He can sense exactly what is wrong with his swing and how to fix it, according to Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic:
“I think I’m just one tick behind. Whether that means I need to get my foot down earlier or start my load earlier. I mean, I’m still getting the barrel to it. I’m just fouling them off right now. So get there one frame earlier, is what we call it, just that one tick earlier.”
Joe Maddon is not concerned about Rendon’s output, as he saw that it took a few games in 2020 for Rendon to figure things out.
“You know that there’s going to be some catching up to do numerically if it’s not working out for him,” Maddon said of Rendon. “He looks the same. His work is outstanding. His approaches to me are the same. Same thing last year, and then all of a sudden, boom, it clicked and then he just rocked and rolled. So I think you’re gonna see the same thing with him.”
This is only his second of seven years with the Angels, so perhaps it’s just natural for him to start slow and round into form as the season progresses. With the Angels looking to make a playoff bid, that’s exactly the type pf player they’ll need in the late stages of 2021.
When the Angels signed Rendon, they finally found a player who could make things happen after Mike Trout batted. Even though he isn’t playing to his full potential right now, there’s no reason to believe he can’t figure it out soon.
Maddon unsure if Rendon will need IL stint
Rendon is dealing with a slight groin injury from a throw to first base, and it held him out of the lineup of a game that never actually happened on Sunday. Maddon believes he’ll be out of the lineup Monday as well, but is unsure beyond that.
At this point, he has no idea if Rendon will need time on the IL, but is leaning against it.