From the stands, Anthony Rendon looks like a happy Little Leaguer, barely able to hide a grin after finding a way to sneak onto a big league field. If he catches a popup, he sneaks a sheepish look at Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche, who always gives him the greasy eyeball because he has dropped a couple. When he comes to the plate, he looks so relaxed he seems to have forgotten it’s no longer batting practice. But maybe it still is for him. His swing, with his hands starting high, but relaxed, looks languid, like he’ll never get to the ball in time. Then, in a flash, the line drives start — left field line, right field line, up the gaps and back through the box.
Very few, except other ballplayers, seem to get Rendon at first glance. Listed at 6 feet and 195 pounds, but probably smaller, he doesn’t grab your eye, but once you’ve spotted him, you’re caught. The mullet haircut, a rookie prank, makes Rendon look mischievous, not something as serious a “natural hitter,” someone that other players analyze, even though he is only 23 and hasn’t proved anything yet.