After the Nationals and Victor Robles went to arbitration just last year, the pair seem likely to return as the Nationals declined the Center Fielder's team option for 2024.
Once a top prospect in all of Major League Baseball, Victor Robles' tenure with the Nationals may be nearing a close.
Victor Robles was called up in 2017 as the #8 prospect in Baseball and earned his first real role in 2019 as the team’s opening-day center fielder. Robles would have his best overall season in 2019, hitting .255 with 33 doubles and 17 homers and stealing 35 bases. This is not to mention the stellar defense that Robles would play, becoming a gold glove finalist for the first time in his career. Since then, it has all gone downhill. Over 3 seasons, all of his offensive numbers would decline, only hitting 11 homers over that span. The defense was still stellar, but not quite as stellar as 2019. Robles has never won a gold glove to this point.
Robles entered 2023 with a lot of questions surrounding his future with the team, as 2023 seemed like a “prove it” year for Robles. Earning his 5th opening-day start from the 9 spot, Robles put up good offensive numbers. Over 36 games, Robles slashed .299, only striking out 18 times, which was the biggest positive sign on offense, as Robles had struck out 400 in his career to that point. Victor Robles had his bounce-back season shut down after an unfortunate back injury which he attempted to return from midseason before reaggravating it. Robles would miss the remainder of the 2023 season.
Of course with Robles being the longest-tenured National on the team and having a decent 2023 season before the injury, he was expected to come back in 2024. However, with the Nationals drafting Dylan Crews and the emergence of the surprising rookie Jacob Young rising through the ranks as fast as he did, Robles might be off the team sooner rather than later.
Jacob Young was called up on August 26th after promising outfielder Stone Garrett went to the 60-day IL. Young had started the season with the Wilmington Blue Rocks and only spent 56 games between Harrisburg & Rochester, with an additional 4 games at Triple-AAA Rochester. Young showed great defense and speed on the field, as well as some surprising power. Over 33 games, Jacob Young hit .252 with 7 doubles and a triple, stealing 13 bases along the way. Young would deliver a walk-off infield knock on September 6th against the Mets.
Going into 2023, the Nationals had almost no proven outfield depth on their roster. Then, players like Stone Garrett, Jacob Young, and Lane Thomas all had promising seasons. The Nationals also have young stars James Wood and Dylan Crews on the rise. Victor Robles, if on the team in 2024, will have a lot more to prove compared to the start of the 2023 season. Robles’ time in DC could be coming to an end very soon.
All Stats are from Major League Baseball’s official website