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Thoughts on Nationals prospect Victor Robles

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Thinking about the future in the Washington outfield

Washington Nationals Photo Day Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

From the Minor League Ball mailbag:

“It was fun to watch Juan Soto this year for the Nats. Can Victor Robles do the same thing in 2019?”——-Samuel from Potomac, Maryland

Well, Sam, not exactly.

Juan Soto has had one of the best seasons from a teenager in major league history, perhaps the best by some measures. In the most pedantic sense, Robles can’t come anywhere close to that since he’s already 21 years old.

In the more general sense (which is what I assume you mean), can Robles have a successful rookie season in 2019? Sure.

When I wrote up the Washington Nationals mid-season review back in August, this was the comment for Robles:

1) Victor Robles, OF, Grade A-/A: Age 21, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2013, missed most of the season with an elbow injury; back in action now, hitting .253/.362/.316 in 158 at-bats between Triple-A and rehab games, 16 steals; still an exciting talent but disappointing season due to the injury, not his fault of course.

A hyper-extended left elbow kept Robles off the field most of this season. Even when playing he didn’t show the same power he demonstrated in 2017 but the injury and consequent rust may have been a factor in that. His final line came out at .276/.371/.370 in 192 at-bats and he was showing more pop late in the year. Robles maintained command of the strike zone and all the tools are still here, notably speed.

Robles is a different style of player than Soto, of course. Victor doesn’t have as much power and won’t put up the same type of explosive numbers as Juan. That said, Robles has more speed, is much better defensively than his counterpart, and is no slouch himself with the bat.

I don’t think we can expect Robles to put up an historic season as Soto has done, but Victor is still an elite prospect who should have a long and productive career.