Then there was one. One full time player from the starting lineup in Game 7 of the 2019 World Series is left as a regular in the 2021 Washington Nationals lineup. Just two starters from the great day are on the active roster. One of them is not Victor Robles.
It appears the clock has struck midnight on Victor Robles. The outfielder who appeared to have nine baseball lives, has been sent to Triple-A, amid a flurry of moves. A move which is 100% deserved, seems to send the message, the Nationals have had enough with the struggling former top prospect.
Robles is responsible for unearthing Michael A. Taylor from the starting centerfield job, having a stellar rookie campaign on an eventual World Series winner. Great defense to go along with 17 home runs and 28 stolen bases, and the Nationals were smiling ear to ear dreaming of the production they were going to get from Robles for years to come.
Some could say, Robles’ journey has been all down hill since that October night in Minute Maid Park. Now, he’ll wake up a member of a minor league club for the first time in over three years.
The collapse of Nationals outfielder Victor Robles seems to have reached a bottoming out point, after he’s jettisoned to the minors.
Robles played 155 games during the 2019 season. A .255 average with 55 RBIs to go along with the home runs and stolen bases mentioned above. In two years since then he has played in 159 games. His .209 average, five home runs, 34 RBIs, and 12 stolen bases leave a lot to be desired.
Anointed the leadoff hitter for the 2021 season, Robles had one RBI through his first 33 games played. His base running was awful. He struck out too much. He couldn’t advance runners. He couldn’t score runners from third base. He looked lost at the plate. Confidence in his abilities waned.
The guy the team held onto too long has finally been given a new assignment. Robles needs to fix his issues in the minors if he wants to climb back into the good graces of the Nationals.
None of us could have expected this turn of events for Robles. A bulked up guy who couldn’t hit for power in 2020 turned into a guy who couldn’t hit, period, in 2021. Did we see this coming when we were basking in the afterglow of the 2019 season?
This demotion will negatively affect Robles trade value, though the hopes are he can get his stroke figured out. Some positive at-bats can lead to confidence. Confidence can lead to results. Results can lead to a promotion. A promotion where Robles gets back on track, his 2019 track. The Nationals don’t want to trade him, they want him to be a part of the future. That is, if he can be a productive major league hitter.
As for now, get used to seeing Lane Thomas in centerfield for the near future.