By Chuck Pool (cpool@Rice.edu) -
Former Rice All-American Anthony Rendon has been named the 2016 National League Comeback Player of the Year, Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday.
Rendon, who swept the college player of the year honors in 2010 with the Owls and was drafted by Washington with the sixth overall pick in the 2011 draft, hit .270 with 20 homers and a career-high 85 RBI in 156 games while leading the Nationals to back to the postseason. His season was in marked contrast from an injury-shortened 2015 campaign when he hit just five homers and drove in 25 while playing in 80 games.
The Comeback Player of the Year Awards are officially sanctioned by MLB, and they are presented annually to one player in each league who has re-emerged on the field during the season. The 30 club beat reporters from MLB.com selected the winners from an original list of 30 candidates, one per club. Rendon is the second Rice Owl to win the National League honor since the award was introduced in 2005. Lance Berkman was honored in 2011 while helping lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a World Series title.
"I'm not a very boastful person," Rendon told Mark Newman of MLB.com. "Of course, there are times you are excited and happy about whether you have a good game or not. But I don't want to be that person that boasts about himself day in and day out. I try to stay away from [the media] as best as I can. ... It's going to help me humble myself and not make my head any bigger than it already is."
Rendon led all NL third basemen in doubles, and he led NL third basemen with a .976 fielding percentage. He led the Nationals in runs, was second on the club in hits and doubles, and he ranked third in RBIs. Rendon had 29 two-out RBIs on the season, and his 23 RBIs in September marked a personal career best for a single month.