Outfielder Victor Robles and right-hander Erick Fedde, Washington’s top prospects on Baseball America’s list of the organization’s Top 10, landed at 13 and 52, respectively, on BA’s Top 100 Prospects list for 2017, which was released last night.
Robles, 19, was the third-highest ranked outfielder on BA’s list, behind only Pittsburgh Pirates’ outfielder Austin Meadows (No. 6) and the Boston Red Sox’ Andrew Benintendi, who was ranked No. 1 overall, as the top prospect in baseball.
Signed out of the Dominican Republic for $225,000 in 2013, Robles finished the 2016 campaign with a combined .280/.376/.423 line, 17 doubles, eight triples, nine home runs and 37 stolen bases in 110 games and 504 plate appearances split between the Rookie League Gulf Coast Nationals (five games), Low-A Hagerstown Suns (64 games) and High-A Potomac Nationals (41 games).
BA’s Teddy Cahill, who wrote up the Nationals’ top prospect list this winter, wrote on Twitter that he wouldn’t be surprised if Robles, who got ratings of 60 - Batting; 50 - Power; 70 - Speed; 60 - Defense; 60 - Arm on the scout’s 20-to-80 scale, ends up No. 1 overall on next year’s Top 100.
Nationals CF Victor Robles is No. 13 on the BA Top 100. I would not be surprised if he’s No. 1 on this list next year.— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) February 11, 2017
Fedde, the Nationals’ 2014 1st Round pick (18th overall) turns 24 later this month. He’s coming off a solid 2016 campaign which saw the righty go (6-4) with a 2.85 ERA, 3.22 FIP, 19 walks (1.87 BB/9) and 95 Ks (9.33 K/9) in 91 2⁄3 innings at High-A Potomac and (2-1) with a 3.99 ERA, 3.02 FIP, 10 walks (3.07 BB/9) and 28 Ks (8.59 K/9) in 29 1⁄3 innings at Double-A Harrisburg.
The top-ranked starter in the Nationals’ system after Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez were dealt to the Chicago White Sox this winter (along with 2016 1st Round pick Dane Dunning), Fedde received grades of 60 - Fastball; 60 - Slider; 50 - Changeup, 50 - Control on the scout’s 20-to-80 scale this winter.
The Nationals drafted Fedde shortly after he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2014.
In an article by MASN’s Byron Kerr this winter, BA’s Cahill said Fedde has shown steady growth since he returned to the mound.
“As he gets further away from surgery,” Cahill said, “he’s getting better and better and starting to look more like that guy everyone thought he would be.”
Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo and Assistant GM Kris Kline thought Fedde would have been a Top 5-10 pick in the draft before he suffered the elbow injury back in 2014.
"Early in the year we had him certainly as a Top 10 guy and possibly even higher than that," Rizzo said after the draft that June.
Kline scouted Fedde early in the starter’s junior year at UNLV, before the injury, and came away thinking there was no way he’d be around at No. 18.
"I walked out of there thinking that we've got no shot at getting this player because he's a Top 5-type guy," Kline said.
"We just felt, again, the upside of this, a guy that we feel is going to be a front of the rotation-type of right-handed starter if the rehab goes well and if he returns to form, we felt that the risk at 18 in the draft was worth the possible reward,” Rizzo said.
Thus far in his professional career, Fedde is rewarding the Nationals’ faith.