Washington Nationals’ prospect Victor Robles entered the Arizona Fall League’s title game 10 for 41 (.244/.389/.488), with a double, three home runs, 10 BB, nine Ks, and seven stolen bases in 13 games in the so-called “finishing school” for the game’s top prospects, and singled to start things off on a 1-0 pitch from the Toronto Blue Jays’ top-ranked pitching prospect, right-hander T.J. Zeuch.
Robles went first-to-third on a second consecutive single, and scored from third base on an RBI liner to left-center by former Nationals’ prospect Sheldon Neuse (now with the Oakland A’s) for the first run of the AFL Championship, 1-0, and the Mesa Solar Sox led 2-0 after one this afternoon.
Ranked No. 2 overall among all major league prospects according to MLB.com’s Pipeline scouts, Robles made his major league debut with the Nationals in September of this season, in his fourth campaign in the organization after signing out of the Dominican Republic for $225K back in 2013.
Robles also made the Nationals’ postseason roster for the NLDS though he saw limited action in the series with the Chicago Cubs.
He showed off his range in center, tracking down a fly to left-center and snatching at a liner for the final out of the Peoria Javelinas’ half of the first inning today, then lined out to a diving Eric Falia (Seattle Mariners) in right-center in his second at bat (1 for 2).
Fellow Nationals’ prospect Kelvin Gutierrez, who was 14 for 40 (.350/.438/.475), with a triple and one home run in AFL action, started the day 0 for 2 with a swinging K in the second and an inning-ending double play grounder in the fourth.
Robles fell behind 0-2 against Zeuch the third time up in the fifth, taking a first-pitch breaking ball for a strike and biting on a slider off the plate outside, then lining out to center on a 1-2 fastball (1 for 3).
Peoria was up 6-2 at that point, after scoring one in the second on a sac fly by San Diego Padres’ prospect Luis Urias, three in the third on an RBI single by the Atlanta Braves’ Ronald Acuna and a two-run liner by Braves’ backstop prospect Alex Jackson, before Acuna added to the lead in the fourth with a two-run, bases loaded single.
Gutierrez sent a fly to center on a 1-2 fastball from Blue Jays’ prospect Andrew Case in the seventh (0 for 3, 2 Ks).
Robles got a final at bat in the eighth, against hard-throwing Padres’ prospect Andres Munoz, working the count full before sending a grounder to short for a one-out, infield single (2 for 4), but he was stranded on the basepaths two outs later.
Dakota Bacus, 26, posted a combined 1.80 ERA in 40 innings pitched in 2017, making 12 appearances at High-A Potomac and 11 at Double-A Harrisburg.
He’d allowed 10 hits and seven runs, six earned in 10 1⁄3 IP in the AFL, walking two and striking out 14,
Bacus got a fly to center field out of Blue Jays’ prospect Jonathan Davis that went over Robles’ head for a leadoff triple, and the second straight three-base hit, off Boston Red Sox’ prospect Michael Chavis’s bat, put the Javelinas up 7-2.
Bacus lost a 1-2 curve and hit Mariners’ prospect Braden Bishop to put runners on the corners with one out, and that was it for the right-hander.
Gutierrez got one more at bat in the top of the ninth, against Mariners prospect Art Warren, and grounded out to short to end the game (0 for 4, 2 Ks).
Final Score: 8-2 Javelinas.