Carolina notes: Renda rises with hard work

Diminutive infielder building on his talents as he climbs Nats' ladder

A second-round pick in 2012, Potomac's Tony Renda is sixth in the Carolina League with a .305 batting average. (Gary Dize)

By Jeff Seidel / Special to | July 9, 2014 11:47 AM ET

Potomac second baseman Tony Renda is 5-foot-8, but he doesn't worry about his lack of height. To him, that's just a waste of time.

Instead, Renda focuses on improving the talents that have enabled him to find success in baseball. A second-round pick in the 2012 Draft, Renda is sixth in the Carolina League with a .305 average and is working tirelessly to reach his ultimate goal -- playing in the Major Leagues.

"I've always been undersized -- growing up, I was always the shorter kid," Renda said. "I can't use that [as a] crutch. You get one shot at this. You get one career. You've got to go about it the hardest way and leave it all out there."

Renda, the No. 20 prospect in Washington's system, takes a positive outlook, viewing himself as gifted for the talents he has on the baseball field. The 23-year-old has been successful ever since signing with the Nationals in 2012, batting .264 in the New York-Penn League after a solid college career at Cal, where he earned Pac-10 Player of the Year honors in 2011.

After that, Renda improved to .294 with Hagerstown in the South Atlantic League last season and has built on that number with the P-Nats despite missing almost a month with a quadriceps injury, which likely cost him a shot at making the Carolina League All-Star team.

"I just take what I have and make the most of it every day," Renda said. "I've got to know how I am and do what I do best every day. I'm more than happy with everything I have, and I'm blessed with everything that I do have."

Renda's father and mother constantly preached to him the importance of hard work. His father passed away a few years ago but always pushed Renda to strive for perfection. Renda said his mother has worked for 40 years, never made excuses and also keeps finding success, moving to an executive position after starting in her company as a bagger.

Potomac manager Tripp Keister is impressed with how Renda works and helps the team, which won the Northern Division's first-half title.

"Tony's a natural leader by the way he goes about his business and handles himself on and off the field," Keister said. "We did miss him in the lineup those three or four weeks he was out. He has a really good approach."

Renda's not going to change his approach anytime soon. Lack of height doesn't bother him. He cares more about honing those skills that have gotten him this far, a strategy that's working well.

"It's the push for perfection," he said. "You don't accept failure. That's another thing my father taught me. It's not acceptable to fail. It's not acceptable to lose."

In brief

Looking for offense: Wilmington's offensive problems continue as the Blue Rocks are last in the league with a .224 average. However, they are tied for first in the Northern Division in the second half and finished tied for second in the first half despite their problems at the plate, thanks to a league-low 3.39 ERA.

Too many errors: Salem had fielding problems that proved costly in Monday's 9-8 loss versus Frederick. The Red Sox made five errors -- three from right fielder Aneury Tavarez, inclusing two on one play in the first inning -- that led to three uneared runs.

More Yaz: Frederick outfielder Mike Yastrzemski is hitting a lot like grandfather Carl since coming to the Keys, especially in last Saturday's 17-3 rout of Lynchburg. He went 5-for-6 with five RBIs and hit for the cycle from in leadoff spot. He's hitting .328 through his first 17 games.

Jeff Seidel is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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