Through 14 games (12 starts) this month, Victor Robles is 11 for 39 at the plate, taking the 23-year-old outfielder from a .227/.346/.273 line at the end of play on April 30th, up to a .248/.352/.324 line after a 1 for 2 game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday, in which he walked once and doubled for the third straight game.
In the three-game series in Chase Field, Robles had hits in each game, going 5 for 8 in 10 plate appearances, with four doubles, a walk, HBP, and three RBIs.
In his previous 33 games, Robles hit two doubles, and drove in just one run. So, yeah, that’s some improvement.
“He’s doing well,” Manager Davey Martinez told reporters after the Nationals took 2 of 3 in the D-backs’ home.
“Like I said, a lot of conversations with him about how to play the game. He’s really working good counts, he’s trying to stay on top of the baseball, he’s doing everything well. He’s working counts as well, and stealing bases. It’s good. He’s really — it’s just staying on him and letting him understand the game.”
“I’ve been keeping the same routine,” Robles said when he was asked after the series finale in Arizona what’s been different for him at the plate in recent games. “I just feel like the ball is rolling in my favor now, and thank God for that, and hopefully it keeps rolling that way.”
Robles’s 13 walks in 36 games and 105 PAs this season are four more than he took in 59 games and 189 PAs in 2020’s 60-game campaign.
His 10.6 BB% is up significantly from 4.8% in 2020, and his career mark of a 6.0 BB%.
Robles said getting on base any way possible was a goal of his coming into the season.
“No, absolutely,” he explained, through the team’s translator Octavio Martinez. “My whole goal this season is to get on base and obviously walks will get my on-base percentage up because I know as long as I’m on base, I can create things to help the team win.”
His manager said it was another sign of the maturation process for a young player, who, in spite of the fact that he’s been in the majors for five seasons, is still just 23 years old (for a couple more days).
“Like I said before, he’s still a really young player, but he’s doing well for us,” Martinez said.
“We all know what he can do in the outfield, and if he can get on base for us and steal bases on occasion for us like he did tonight, we’re really going to do well. He’s going to be a good player.”
Robles stole two bases, one in each of the last two games, over the weekend, matching his total from the previous 34 games this season, when he was thrown out in three of five tries.
“[Bench Coach Tim Bogar] and [First Base Coach] Randy Knorr have helped me a lot,” Robles said.
“Especially in picking what counts to be running in and they’ve helped me a lot develop that way.”
His manager talked over the weekend about Robles getting ready earlier at the plate, and how that’s benefited the outfielder in recent games.
“He’s getting ready a little bit earlier, which is kind of nice,” Martinez explained. “And he’s using his hands a lot better. He’s starting to come around, he’s swinging the bat better, so that’s awesome. We’ve got to get him going.”
Robles said getting his foot down and getting ready earlier has definitely helped.
“I think so, absolutely,” he said. “I think that it helps me see the pitches a little bit better and hopefully make harder contact.”
Considering he hit four of his six doubles on the season over the weekend, is something he did to make adjustments at the plate working?
“Like I said earlier today, just the ball is in my court right now. Thank God things are falling in my favor right now, but I keep working to have the same results, it’s just right now things did go well for me, and keep working hard and keep maintaining that.”
Robles and the Nationals will try to keep things going in a positive direction tonight in the first of four with the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field.