For once, the Pittsburgh Pirates had things fall their way. At least one good thing is now guaranteed to come from this nightmarish season: the #1 pick in next year's amateur draft.
That pick looks very much like it could be 20-year-old 3B Anthony Rendon, who has played to glowing reviews at Rice University and has been favorably compared to Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper. He won the 2010 Dick Howser Award as the college player of the year in 2010 and finished the season hitting .394/.530/.801, with 26 HR, 85 RBI, 83 runs scored, 65 walks, and just 22 whiffs. He was also named the 2010 National Player of the Year by Baseball America and the American Baseball Coaches Association.
But there are some red flags that come with such speculation. Rendon broke his ankle for the first time against LSU in the Baton Rouge Super Regional two seasons ago, and broke and dislocated the same angle on a rundown play in a July U.S. Collegiate National Team game against South Korea.
For what it's worth, Rendon thinks he'll bounce back, but don't forget that injury history as a potential reason for the Pirates to pass on him next year.
On the topic of the draft and Rendon, Neal Huntington gave the expected non-answer answer to Dejan Kovacevic after the Buccos' 7-2 win against the Cardinals last night:
"I'll be able to give a lot more information about who we take No. 1 in the country after we take him," he said. "There's a good list of guys available, some college arms, and there could be some college bats. Prior to the injury, Rendon's a very interesting player. We've got to see where he is post-injury."
Huntington also added that he "looks forward to the day we start picking 28th and 30th," and after I stopped laughing, I realized that he was serious. Hey, it's good to have goals. Might be shooting a little too high with that one, but a guy's gotta dream.