Victor Robles, OF
This is no time to build suspense, so we’ll start with the obvious. Everyone and their mother knows that Victor Robles is going to have the most significant impact on the Washington Nationals this season. The rookie phenom became a lock to make the Opening Day lineup when Michael A. Taylor went down late in Spring Training, and he’s already made noise during the team’s first eight games.
The Nationals top-ranked prospect has experienced a roller-coaster start to the 2019 season which has seen him make both positive and negative impacts for the team. In the Opening Day loss to the New York Mets, Robles made a few defensive miscues in the outfield that made people scratch their heads. Those errors were compounded when he later made a critical mistake on the base paths when he should have scored, instead of getting caught between 3rd and home and ending the inning. His mistakes on Opening Day were a major talking point until he showed off his power in the next game, hitting a big home run off of Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard.
Since then Robles has made a few more questionable plays in the field and on the bases, but the Nationals have been encouraged by his ability at the plate. While the young center fielder is not quite as patient and disciplined at the plate as Soto, he features a quick, violent swing that can drive the ball to all fields. While the debate over his Major League readiness in the field rages on, Robles continues to let his bat and speed do the talking for him.
Through ten games he’s hitting .324 with three home runs and six RBI. Robles stole his first base of the season on Sunday in the 12-9 win over the Mets and caused a throwing error which allowed him to advance to 3rd. He’s also drawn 4 walks and been hit by a pitch to give him an early season OBP of .410.
Robles will continue to learn on the fly while in the field, but his ability in the batter’s box combined with his speed on the bases has shown the Nationals that their belief in him is not misplaced. He’ll be in the National League Rookie of the Year discussions at the end of the season after the major impact he makes for his team this season.