Washington Nationals Prospect Profile: Victor Robles

Mar 19, 2015; Melbourne, FL, USA; A view of Space Coast Stadium during the game between the Detroit Tigers and the Washington Nationals. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 19, 2015; Melbourne, FL, USA; A view of Space Coast Stadium during the game between the Detroit Tigers and the Washington Nationals. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports /

One of the prospects that are at the center of Washington Nationals trade rumors is outfielder Victor Robles

Over the last couple days, the Washington Nationals have been linked in trade rumors to Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen. Yesterday, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and MLB Network reported that Victor Robles is the prospect Pittsburgh is focusing on getting back in return, should a trade happen.

At just 19 years old, Robles has become one of the top prospects in the Washington Nationals farm system. According to MLB Pipeline’s current rankings, Robles is the top position player and the second overall prospect in the system behind right-handed pitcher Lucas Giolito.

In 2015, Robles excelled at both GCL and short-season Auburn. He was a midseason New York Penn-League All-Star and hit .343 with two home runs, 16 RBI’s, a .424 on-base percentage, and stole 21 bases on 33 attempts.

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This past season, Robles played the bulk of the year at low-A Hagerstown and high-A Potomac (five games in the Gulf Coast League). He had a slash line of .280/.376/.423 with nine home runs, 42 RBI’s, and stole 37 bases in 51 attempts.

The first tool that immediately stands out about Robles is his speed. Two months ago, Sam Dysktra of Minor League Baseball looked at which prospect had the best speed score based on several advanced metrics. It was Robles who ended up being number one over prospects such as Yoan Moncada and Manuel Margot.

Back in September, I asked Lacy Lusk from Baseball America about Robles and what stood out to him during our Potomac Nationals season in review. Here is what he had to say about his development:

"“For a 19-year-old, he more than held his own. His defense stands out the most to me, but I would say he’s a rare five-tool prospect who seems to actually have all five tools.”"

After a great first two months at Hagerstown (.305, five home runs, 30 RBI’s in 64 games), Robles was promoted to Potomac to June 27. He did battle injury during the season. On July 25, he went on the seven-day disabled list due to a hand injury. He remained on the DL till August 12.

While Robles only hit .243 during the month of August for Potomac, his speed stood out once again as he was 16-for-21 in stolen base attempts. Even in a short time in the Carolina League, his 18 stolen bases were tied for third on the team.

As the season came to a close, Robles started to heat up at the plate. If you count Potomac’s lone postseason series against Lynchburg, he ended the year on a seven-game hit streak and had five multi-hit games (three 3-hit games). He didn’t steal many bases (four), but he found a way to get on base as the leadoff hitter.

The power may not be there yet, but Robles has excelled at getting on-base and stealing bases, which leads to more run scoring opportunities for his teammates. He is mainly a center fielder, but he has played all three outfield positions at some point in his minor league career.

Last night, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post mentioned that some people in the Nats organization compare Robles to McCutchen and they see the young outfielder as part of their future plans. Here is what she wrote:

"“Interestingly, some scouts and members of the Nationals organization have compared Robles to McCutchen. But the Nationals view Robles as an important part of their long-term outfield plans, since both Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth could be gone to free agency by the end of the 2018 season.”"

If the Washington Nationals were to trade for McCutchen, they would only have him for two years of team control. As good of a player as McCutchen is and the Nats do need to make a splash this offseason, Robles is too valuable of a prospect when you consider the Nats only have two outfielders in MLB Pipeline’s top ten Nats prospects (Robles and Andrew Stevenson).

Next: Rumor: McCutchen Talks Heating Up

Whether Robles is with the Washington Nationals or with another organization going forward, he definitely appears to have a bright future.