With a runner on first and one out in the sixth on Tuesday night, Joe Ross gave up a liner to right-center that Victor Robles tracked down in the gap, catching it as he ranged to his left, and throwing across his body to catch Cincinnati Reds’ infielder José Peraza going for third base.
It took a nice catch and tag by Anthony Rendon at third to complete the play on what was a he—ck of a throw by the Washington Nationals’ 21-year-old center fielder, who picked up his 9th outfield assist of the season on the play.
Did his manager think Robles had a chance to get the out at third when he saw him loading up to make the throw?
“No. I really didn’t,” Davey Martinez told reporters after the Nationals’ 3-1 win over the Reds.
“And both sides of the ball,” Martinez added, “the tag Anthony made was incredible, it really was, but Victor’s got an incredible arm.
“When he started throwing to third, I was like, ‘Oh boy,’ and the play was unbelievable.”
“It’s amazing,” Juan Soto said of his fellow outfielder’s efforts. “That’s an amazing throw. I feel really happy for him. That kind of arm you don’t see very often, but he’s really good.”
“Since I’ve known him, he’s always had a really good arm,” Soto added. “They say in the past he had a better arm than now, so, I don’t know.”
Victor Robles had to go get a ball in the right-center gap, then whip a throw back the other way to 3B.— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) August 14, 2019
Arm strength: 97.3 mph.
It's his second straight game with a 97+ mph OF assist. pic.twitter.com/266vzMwyqw
Asked about Robles’s nine outfield assists, Martinez said that the success the outfielder has had on defense has been a result of a lot of hard work that he puts in on a daily basis.
“It’s huge,” he said of Robles’s development as a defender. “Our defense has been playing better, especially our outfielders have been better, Juan has been better, they’ve all been playing well, so it’s just part of it and they get it, and he works at it every day. You see him out there every day working.”
“I’ve always said that extra work makes the difference, it’s a big difference-maker,” Robles said when he spoke with reporters after Tuesday’s game, “... and I’ve been working hard towards it and anything I can do to help the team out and I’ve been able to do so.”
He also said that you have to be willing to try if you’re going to make the spectacular plays.
“To be honest, when you’re not afraid to make plays, then good things happen, and I’m definitely not afraid to make things happen.”
That play, of course, came a night after Joey Votto tested Robles’s arm and got thrown out at home on a 99.5 MPH strike from center field.
Hardest tracked OF assists of 2019— #Statcast (@statcast) August 13, 2019
1. Bubba Starling: 100.7 mph, 7/26
2. Kevin Kiermaier: 100.6 mph, 5/22
3. Starling Marte: 99.9 mph, 6/15
4. @Victor__Robles: 99.5 mph last night
the @Nationals CF's cannon pic.twitter.com/RmEmRkd1Vl
“It was awesome,” Martinez said of Robles’s 8th assist. “We always talk about coming to get the baseball, and he charges the ball really, really well. He cut the distance off and he threw a bullet, right on target.”