WASHINGTON — The Home Run Derby and All-Star Game were great opportunities to showcase the Washington Nationals’ talent, but nothing shows off the depth of the organization like the Futures Game.
The Futures Game is a minor league All-Star Game of sorts, with rosters of Americans vs. international players selected by Baseball America magazine. The Nats were represented by outfielder Victor Robles on the world team and despite a ho-hum performance, 106.7 The Fan host Grant Paulsen came away impressed.
“I tell you what, Danny, you’re going to love Victor Robles,” he told co-host Danny Rouhier on Wednesday. “He didn’t do a lot in the Futures Game; he came off the bench. But I got to watch him take batting practice, and while his power isn’t present mid-game–I think he’s got seven homers in the first half–he’s got mad pop at 5 o’clock.
“He can run; he’s so fast. He tracked a couple balls down in batting practice in gaps that Michael Taylor couldn’t get to, and he’s a plus defender at the Major League level. So I was really enamored with Robles.”
This matches a common description for Robles, who first made an impression as a Minor Leaguer playing in an intra-squad game in Spring Training 2016. At the time, he collected an infield hit off of Tanner Roark before being picked off of first base. Such is life with developmental players.
Since then, he has earned promotions to high-A Potomac and is considered a top-10 prospect in baseball. He has a slash line of .297/.382/.516 for the first half and will almost certainly be involved in trade discussions as the team approaches the Major League trade deadline.
However, if he remains with the Nats, he represents an intriguing prospect for the future. Aging veteran Jayson Werth’s contract expires at the end of the season, which opens up a hole in left field. Robles is a natural center fielder, but the team could try him out in left or center.
An outfield that combines the talents of Bryce Harper, Adam Eaton, Taylor and Robles has to be enticing for the future. Then again, so would trading for an elite closer in 2017. Stay tuned to 106.7 The Fan for the latest Nats news and rumors.