MLB Draft Profile: Anthony Rendon 

July, 12, 2010

Anthony RendonMark J. Rebilas/US PresswireAlong with a powerful swing and good plate discipline, Anthony Rendon has another powerful skill: early pitch recognition.

Over the course of the next year, ESPN Insider will be releasing profiles of the top prospects in the 2011 MLB draft. Our first is Anthony Rendon, who many are predicting to be the top pick come June.

The way Anthony Rendon describes how he sees a baseball as it's traveling toward him at the plate -- literally, the way he sees the raised, red seams rotating at the nanosecond they're released from a pitcher's fingers -- you hear a hitter who, perhaps, doesn't fully comprehend the magnitude of his abilities. The Rice third basemen entering his junior year is almost baffled.

"It's weird. I can just see it really early," says Rendon. "I can just pick up the pitch, the spin, like, as the hand comes forward. I just feel like I get a really good view of it early, and it makes my reaction better."

If Rendon (pronounced with a long "O") is somewhat perplexed by this heightened perception ("I guess I just have really good eyes"), he hasn't let that stop him from profiting from it at the plate. The man who many, including Keith Law, are calling an early favorite to be the No. 1 pick in next year's draft, has put up prodigious numbers at the plate during his first two years of college ball. In 2009, as a freshman, he raked to the tune of .388 with 20 home runs, on his way to national Freshman of the Year. This past spring, he perked up to .396 with 26 home runs, which is impressive but doesn't begin to describe the work he's doing when he's not swinging. Scouts double-take at a walk-to-strikeout ratio of 65 to 22 and an OBP of .530. That Rendon can play eye-chart with the "Rawlings" printed on a spinning orb traveling at 90-plus miles per hour has helped him hit and become a well-rounded run producer, too.