Victor Robles Or Lane Thomas?
Victor Robles was once viewed as a future cornerstone of the Nationals and was ranked the number four prospect in baseball. The team viewed him so highly that they continued to refuse any trades that involved the speedster.
Robles bust onto the scene in 2019, hitting .255, with 15 homers, 65 RBIs, and an OPS of .745. Defensively, he recorded 12 outfield assists, 23 DRS, and a 5.5 UZR. But since winning the World Series, he has been unable to replicate his success. This past season he started 107 games, hitting .203, with two homers, 19 RBIs, and an OPS of .605.
Consequently, Robles was demoted to AAA at the end of August in favor of newcomer Lane Thomas. Robles immediately rediscovered his swing in the minors, hitting .306, with four homers, eight RBIs, and an OPS of .962 in 24 games.
St. Louis shipped Thomas to D.C. for Jon Lester. With the Cardinals, the 26-year-old was unable to crack the lineup, but in D.C. he immediately made his presence felt. Thomas quickly became a fan favorite, hitting .270, with seven homers, 27 RBIs, and an OPS of .853. Keep in mind, he failed to hit righties, slashing .178/.274/.337 in 163 at-bats against them.
Robles has the defensive edge, but needs to show he can consistently hit MLB pitching. Since taking over, Thomas was able to provide a spark (be it a small sample size) at the top of the lineup, but needs to cut down on the swing and miss. Both players have intriguing upside, but both have to prove they can be consistent options.