The expectations for Howie Kendrick entering his age-35 season in 2019 weren't high. No one expected him to be an everyday contributor for the Nationals, let alone one come October. But here we are. The single most important offensive player on the National League postseason has been Kendrick and who in the world would've seen that coming back in the spring?
It's not that Kendrick was a bad player coming into the year. That's not even remotely the case. Long one of the better batsmiths in the majors, he carries a career .294 batting average and hit .303 last season. At minimum Kendrick was expected to be a part-time bench bat.
Instead, Kendrick is the Nats' five-hole hitter, protecting Juan Soto and MVP candidate Anthony Rendon. Kendrick slashed .344/.395/.572 this season, setting -- and shattering, in some cases -- career highs across the board.