A hyperextended left elbow led (at least in part) to Victor Robles dropping from No. 4 on Keith Law’s Top 100 prospects last winter to No. 10 this time around, though the ESPN prospect analyst wrote last week that the Washington Nationals’ 21-year-old outfielder is a, “... true five-tool prospect, with 70-grade speed, plus or better defense, a 70 arm, plus raw power and at least a future plus hit tool, with high contact rates during his career to date and a decent eye.”
Robles was the highest-ranked Washington Nationals’ prospect on Law’s list this winter, with 19-year-old right-hander Mason Denaburg (No. 96) and 21-year-old infielder Carter Kieboom (No. 98) also representing the organization on the Top 100 for 2019.
For ESPN+ subscribers, the top 50 prospects in baseball: https://t.co/2ZD0py6bZz— keithlaw (@keithlaw) January 30, 2019
Denaburg’s stock, Law writes, was impacted by injury concerns leading up to the draft last June, and the Nationals held him off the mound last summer, before he pitched in the Instructional League, but, Law added, “... if he’s completely healthy now after a summer off, the Nats might have nabbed a top-10 talent who has No. 2 starter upside,” with the 27th pick in the first round of the 2018 draft.
Kieboom, the 28th overall pick in the 2016 Draft, has played short predominantly in his first three season in the Nationals’ system, though he started working at second in the Arizona Fall League this year, and seems likely to end up there with Trea Turner firmly ensconced at second base in the nation’s capital and under team control for a while. That might be good, based on Law’s analysis.
New ESPN+ post - the first half of my top 100 prospects is up, running from #100 to #51: https://t.co/MggvqCQzX8— keithlaw (@keithlaw) January 29, 2019
“Kieboom is a shortstop now but is a 45-grade defender there,” Law writes, “... lacking the speed or range to stay at that spot; while his hands are very good and he should be no worse than a 55 defender at second,” though there is work to be done there since, as the infielder told reporters this winter, before his work at second in the AFL, he hadn’t played the position since he was a kid.
While the Nationals have three prospects in Law’s Top 100 for 2019, he wrote on Monday, in his organizational rankings, that Washington’s system, which is ranked 23rd out of 30 MLB teams, is top-heavy, “... and lacks much depth anywhere on the field,” though he notes that some of the prospects out of Latin America are promising and says the team, “... took a few gambles in last year’s draft that don’t have much value right now but will have huge payoffs if they hit.”