The Washington Nationals’ starting CF, Victor Robles, had finally played his first full season in 2019. He had stints in 2017 and 2018 with the MLB club, but played a combined 40 games in that stretch. The big criticism of Robles in 2019 was that unlike in his minor league career, Robles couldn’t hit very well that year. While it is a legitimate concern, I think you need to give the young outfielder time to develop.
Rushed Up to the MLB
Victor Robles played only 37 games in AA and 40 games in AAA, so he hasn’t had much exposure to good talent before the MLB. Victor Robles had his first real full season with MLB talent pitching against him, and he struggled with a .317 wOBA and 91 wRC+ with 140 strikeouts. He doesn’t have the proper development you’d give a youngster, and with a season under his belt I think he’s going to hit a little better
Already An Elite Defender
Victor Robles has one of the best gloves in the game, leading all outfielders in OAA with 14 OAA, with 23 DRS, and a 6.1 UZR/150 in center field. He was so good defensively, that despite his bad offense he still had a 2.5 fWAR. Playing that incredible defense in the second or third most important position speaks volumes to his athleticism and talent.
What Went Wrong For Victor Robles
The issues for Robles stem from the ridiculous amount of ground balls he hit and how he couldn’t punch the ball through the holes in the infield. As a speedster, I would expect him to get more hits out of his ground balls for 2020. Next, he only had a 22% hard-hit % and that’s just not going to fly if he wants to hit well in 2020. I think if he’s able to even become average with his hard-hit%, he will be a significantly better hitter, though I don’t know what he can do to drastically change it.
What do I think his 2020 would look like?
Projecting Victor Robles
For me the season for Robles won’t be a MVP superstar season, but a pretty good one for the 23 year old. I think his season will look like this:
Watch for Victor Robles to be one of the better all around players on the Nationals and improve offensively enough to be slightly above average while being a great defender.
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