Washington Nationals: Outfield depth tremendous asset

rjuckett
WEST PALM BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 22: Michael Taylor
WEST PALM BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 22: Michael Taylor /
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With six strong outfielders, the Washington Nationals have a deep reserve. Perfect for filling injuries or making trades this summer.

For all the focus on the Washington Nationals’ weaknesses this spring, the emergence of the outfield as a strength gets missed.

The projected Opening Day trio of Adam Eaton, Michael Taylor and Bryce Harper are solid on both sides of the ball. Eaton and Harper are run-creating machines while Taylor’s defense and improved offense will win their share of games.

However, behind those starters are another threesome that could start on most teams now or soon.

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You know how strong Brian Goodwin is. Unless there is another outfield injury, he plans to be the fourth outfielder. With solid power and a good glove, he could be the left or centerfielder on second-level clubs. Remember, he is out of minor-league options. Hard to see him clearing waivers to return to Triple-A Syracuse.

Andrew Stevenson drew playing time last year in Washington with the rash of injuries. Monday, he filled in for Taylor at the last moment and smacked a home run. Although he could use more seasoning at the plate, his glove is major-league ready.

Stevenson may get the call to Washington for good next year depending on where a certain right fielder plays. A hot prospect coming out of LSU, Stevenson does not get the ink of others, but his skill set is there.

Then there is what’s his name. Victor Robles, is it?

Between his power, base running aggressiveness and defensive range, Robles is the star of West Palm Beach. His ability to run 30 to 40 yards flagging down liners on a dive will earn him time on SportsCenter’s Top 10 regularly.

But, he must play every day. His raw talent needs the repetition. Although Syracuse still is the likely landing spot if Taylor’s sore oblique turns into a legit issue then Robles has an opening to make the team. A disabled list visit by Taylor should thrust Robles into the Opening Day lineup in Cincinnati.

The odds remain long. But, Robles’ play is strong enough where we reach the plausibility stage of him on the 25-man roster.

With six good outfielders, and Juan Soto getting playing time in big-league camp, depth is not an issue. Also, if Washington waits until July to grab another starting pitcher or catcher, they have trade options not named Robles or Soto.

Next: Seth Romero suspended

There is a reason the Nats remain a heavy favorite to win a third consecutive National League East crown. We call it the outfield.

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