Dusty Baker told reporters last week that 20-year-old outfielder Victor Robles was in consideration for a spot on Washington’s postseason roster, in spite of the fact that the No. 1 prospect in the Nationals’ organization is still relatively inexperienced.
“If I didn’t think so I wouldn’t play him at all, know what I‘m saying?” Baker explained.
“But I don’t want to get carried away, because I’ve seen September call-ups, and then you can’t find them come next April. You want to bring him on slowly, but at a speed that you think he can handle emotionally and psychologically.”
Robles has impressed in his time in the majors, since his contract was selected on the 7th of September, going 3 for 9 with a double and a triple thus far, though he hasn’t played in seven days now after starting in two of five games between the 7th-14th.
Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies on Wednesday that it’s not just on the field that the young outfielder is making a strong impression.
“Extremely impressed with Victor,” Rizzo said. “Between the lines is one thing, that’s a big reason why we brought him up to take a look at him, but outside the lines, in the clubhouse and on the charters and the hotels, this kid is really, really mature beyond his chronological age.
“He’s really interacting nicely with the veterans on the team, the veterans have taken him under their wing, and also made him feel part of the organization and part of the clubhouse.
“His maturity-level has really, really impressed me, his baseball IQ, he’s much further along in that than I thought he would be. He really knows the game, and his skills are really scary.
“He can do a lot of things, and I thought it was important for him to get a taste of it, but as important for our fanbase to get a look at him, and it’s really kind of self-explanatory the reason that you just can’t package these guys in trades because there aren’t enough of them in baseball, they’re pretty special and when you’re fortunate and talented enough as a scouting staff like [VP of International Operations] Johnny DiPuglia is, to land these guys, they’re tough to move.”
Rizzo, of course, reportedly fielded numerous calls from other teams with interest in Robles this winter, with the outfielder’s name popping up again and again in rumors, but the Nationals held on to him while dealing away a number of their top pitching prospects.
Now, as Rizzo said yesterday, Robles is, in fact, being considered for a postseason spot.
“I think he’s going to be in the conversation,” Rizzo explained. “It’s going to depend on some health of some other players. [Brian Goodwin] he’s coming along, he’s a little bit farther behind [where Bryce Harper] is, with the groin, but he’s earned the right to make this team if he’s healthy, but if he’s not then [Robles] will be in the conversation, and I don’t think Victor will be overwhelmed with the scenarios of the playoffs.”
If he makes the Nationals’ roster for the NLDS, Rizzo said he thinks Robles has a lot to offer.
“I think that he brings a great skill set to a team. So I think he’ll be in the conversation. Those last three or four players are going to be the tough ones to figure out, and I think it will be determined by what [are] our needs? Do we need an eighth reliever in the first round or do you want to go with seven and an extra bench player?
“Do you want to go with a long reliever instead of a short reliever, or do you want that extra speed guy to pinch run and steal a base when you have to?
“So those are all the strategical questions that we have, but [Robles] fits into our clubhouse, into our roster, and into our lineup for the future very, very comfortably, and the future for him is extremely bright.”