I myself have no idea of what to expect of Rendon, so when I had the chance to ask former Angel and current Bally Sports West Angels color commentator Mark Gubicza, I went for it.
What he had to say is going to put a smile on many Angels' fans faces.
Mark Gubicza sees Anthony Rendon having a comeback season in 2022 for the LA Angels.
"I definitely think he will (bounce back) because of the motivation factor behind it," said Mark Gubicza on LA Angels' third baseman Anthony Rendon.
And that type of bounce back is going to be pretty sweet. The type of Rendon the Halos decided to pay $35 million per year for is the one we saw from 2017 up through his contract year, 2019. 'Tony Two-Bags' averaged 43 doubles per year to go along with averaging 106 RBIs per season.
He hit .310/.397/.556 (.953 OPS) with a 144 OPS+ and great defense. Fortunately, that defense has remained for Rendon, but he saw a regression in 2020 and fell off the face of the earth due to injuries in 2021. But, Gubicza likes what he's heard so far when it comes to what he's doing to get healthy and ready for 2022.
"He mentioned having that hip surgery before the end of the season to be able to accelerate the rehab as far as getting back and ready to go," said Gubicza.
He did. Rendon said that he chose to not come back and play last year once the team was out of contention, so he could make sure he could have his surgery and come back for 2022.
"I know there were a lot of frustrations watching him last year, but he wasn’t healthy," said Gubicza. "You’re talking about an incredible fielder at third base, cool under pressure, real good power gap to gap from left-center, right-center."
And he wasn't healthy. In the first ten games of the year, he was. And he hit .290 with a .378 on-base percentage and five runs scored.
He may not have looked like a $35 million man, but he looked pretty good, especially when factoring in his defense. Once he got hurt is when he started faltering.
And Gubicza hit the nail on the head when he said Rendon is "cool under pressure." He expanded and talked about his strong history in the clutch.
"Go back to that year where they won the World Series with the Nats in ‘19 when he had that home run against Kershaw," said Gubicza. "If he doesn’t hit that home run the Nats are done and the Dodgers move on. So, he’s that clutch."
He is that clutch. He hit .276/.344/.586 (.930 OPS) and hit two home runs to go along with 8 RBIs in that seven-game World Series. Normal humans can't do that.
I'm not guaranteeing a bounce back from Rendon, but he's got ice in his veins. He's proven in the past that he can indeed break through when his back's against the wall. Talking to Gubi reminded me of just how special the multiple-time Silver Slugger award winner has been in the past.
What I CAN guarantee, however, is that Rendon will continue to be a force in the field over at third base. Gubicza put it best:
The defense becomes elite with him playing third base," said Gubi. "If you’re a pitcher and can keep the ball in the ballpark, it’s going to be caught. You’re going to limit the amount of extra pitches and outs you’re going to not have or potentially have."