(Julio Cortez/AP)

The 22-year-old, by virtue of signing a major league contract when the Nationals drafted him with the sixth overall pick in 2011, is on their 40-man roster and is therefore eligible to come to the majors Sept. 1 with zero roster haggling.

“He might be,” Johnson said. “See how he finishes up. This is the year of the young guys all around baseball. He’s another one who’s right in that mold — talented, and he might be old for young guys. What’s he, 22? Nineteen, 20, they’re popping up all the time. His main thing is just getting in playing shape.”

While Johnson did not dismiss the notion, the Nationals’ front office is highly unlikely to follow through, according to a person familiar with the team’s thinking. Rendon has an advanced approach and would have surely risen to Class AA Harrisburg, and perhaps beyond, early this season if he did not fracture his ankle in the second game of the season.

As it stands, Rendon has played only 22 minor league games, with 13 of those coming in either the Gulf Coast League or rookie ball in Auburn. He may be talented enough to hold his own at the major league level, with both his advanced swing and his solid defense, but he simply does not have enough experience.

The Nationals are, however, planning to send Rendon to the Arizona Fall League. The experience could prepare him for an eventual promotion to the majors in 2013. Right now is just a little too soon.