Victor Robles Draws Closer To Washington
On a nearly daily basis this spring, 20-year-old Victor Robles has fit right into the Nationals’ major league lineup and outfield. Still, the organization’s No. 1 prospect said it’s easy to focus on enjoying the opportunity instead of worrying about making the big league team out of camp.
"It’s not difficult at all,” Robles, a 2013 signee from the Dominican Republic, said through an translator. "I have the same mindset as I’ve always had—just come here and do my work, play baseball. I obviously want to make the team, but that’s not something I worry about. I can’t control that.”
The righthanded-hitting center fielder was frequently making highlight-reel diving catches while delivering power at the plate. Meanwhile, projected left fielder Adam Eaton had yet to play this spring as he recovers from knee surgery.
If Eaton is not ready for Opening Day, a spot could open up for an everyday outfielder. That would improve Robles’ chances of skipping over Triple-A Syracuse, where he has never played a game.
Last season, Robles thought his year was over when Double-A Harrisburg concluded its schedule. But an injury to Brian Goodwin helped him get promoted to the majors, and he went on to hit .250/.308/.458 in 24 at-bats and make the postseason roster.
Robles hit .300/.382/.493 with 10 home runs and 27 stolen bases in 114 games last season at high Class A Potomac and Harrisburg.
This spring, Nationals manager Davey Martinez compared Robles with Andrew McCutchen because of the way both glide in the outfield.
"To be compared to a great ballplayer, how do you not feel great about that?” Robles said.
• Lefthander Seth Romero, a first-round pick last year who had been kicked off his college team at Houston, was sent home during spring training, reportedly for missing curfews.
• Lefthander Bryan Harper returned from Tommy John surgery and allowed two runs in his first four innings of big league spring games. Except for simulated games last September, it was the 28-year-old's first game action since 2016. "It feels the same (as before the surgery),” Harper said of his elbow. "That’s the biggest thing. Obviously I’m making some mechanical adjustments and working on some pitches, but it feels good.”