Robles’s Big Hit:
Victor Robles’s big hit in Saturday night’s win was overshadowed somewhat by the play at the plate which followed, with César Hernández initially called out at home on a throw the former Nationals’ outfielder Juan Soto sent in from right field, but upon review it was ruled Padres’ catcher Austin Nola blocked Hernández’s path to the plate and the call was quickly reversed. It ended up being the winning run. But Robles drove it in, taking a 100+ MPH first-pitch fastball San Diego reliever Luis García the other way for his only hit of the game in four plate appearances.
“I was just trying to look for a good pitch, and try to do some damage with it,” Robles said, via interpreter Octavio Martinez, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman on Saturday night.
“Try to help the team any way possible.”
His manager went into a little more detail about why he liked what he saw from Robles’s approach on the pitch.
“I think he stayed through the ball, and I’ve seen him do that,” Davey Martinez said.
“When he has to he’ll do it, and that’s what we’re trying to get him to learn. For me, every at-bat, because he can steal bases, right, so every at-bat that you hit to right field, even if it’s a base hit, it’s — a lot of them are doubles. When he gets to two strikes a lot of times, a lot of times when we tell him, ‘You got to stay on the ball, hit the ball the other way,’ he can do it, and that’s what I was talking about after the game tonight, I told him, I said, ‘Hey, you can do that any time you want, you just got to believe you can do it and commit to it, and you’re going to be so much better as a hitter and as a player if you continue to do that.”
Meneses’s Big Opportunity:
Joey Meneses, 30, homered for the fifth time in nine games on Saturday night, making the most of the opportunity he’s earned as he fought for an opportunity over 10 seasons in the minors before finally making it to the majors.
Going into Sunday’s series finale with the San Diego Padres, Meneses was 12 for 31, for a .387 AVG, with the five home runs, three walks, and eight runs scored since he made his MLB debut on August 2nd.
He’d hit safely in eight of his first nine games in the big leagues, and his five homers in nine games were second-most in MLB history with, “... only Trevor Story (7 HR in 2016) [hitting] more home runs in his first nine MLB games since 1901.”
Meneses has made quite an impression in a short period of time.
“He’s swinging the bat well, he really is,” Davey Martinez said on Saturday night.
“He’s got a great two-strike approach, he’s staying on the baseball, when he’s ahead in the count he tries to drive the ball and it’s been really good.”
Seeing players like Meneses get an opportunity and shine, Martinez, a veteran of 16 seasons in the majors, said, is particularly satisfying.
“No, it’s awesome. These guys, they put in a lot of time and a lot of effort to get to the big leagues, and you got to do well in the minor leagues to get up here, right?” Martinez asked rhetorically.
“For him to continue to succeed up here, and watch him do what he’s doing, it’s awesome and it’s gratifying, that hey, he played down [in the minors] and worked his tail off to get to the major leagues, and the dividends are paying off for Joey.”
“Because it’s not easy playing up here. So, I love when those guys get up here and they get a chance to play and they go out there and show what they can do.”
GM Mike Rizzo described James Wood, the 19-year-old, 2021 2nd Round pick acquired from the San Diego Padres as one of five prospects included in the Juan Soto/Josh Bell trade, as a, “big-time tools-y guy ... who’s a 6’7’’ [outfielder], [with] a specimen of a body,” who’s, “... got big-time power, he was a plus-plus runner and just is a good balance player,” once the trade was completed.
Wood, the Nationals noted in their press release on the trade, was ranked as, “San Diego’s No. 3 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com and its No. 4 prospect per Baseball America.
“He is listed by Baseball America as the No. 62 prospect and by MLBPipeline.com as the No. 88 prospect in all of baseball.”
James Wood (OF, @Nationals) is moving our Top 100— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) August 11, 2022
Find a full scouting report, ranking and more https://t.co/Cfxvy6UowA pic.twitter.com/FcmaEhZf8K
Wood came over with a .321/.439/.565 line in 55 games between Single-A Lake Elsinore and the ACL Padres in San Diego’s system, with 19 doubles, a triple, 10 home runs, 40 walks, 16 stolen bases, and 56 runs scored before the trade.
Going into play on Sunday, the outfielder was 12 for 34 (.353/.389/.559), with four doubles, a home run, a pair of walks, and 10 Ks in eight games and 36 plate appearances at Single-A Fredericksburg.
In his weekly interview with 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies last week, Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo was asked if the youngster might make jump in the system before the season’s over?
“We’re not sure what the progression is going to be with him or with the other guys,” Rizzo told reporters. “We know that Fredericksburg, they’re in the playoff hunt, and James is a big part of that lineup, and again, trying to get his feet wet with the way we do things here in Washington, as opposed to San Diego, so I don’t think there’s any hurry to push guys to the next level, especially from A-ball to A-ball.
“You know this guy is extremely capable of succeeding at that level and the next.
“He’s a big part of what we’re trying to do, he’s an exciting player. I’m down here in West Palm Beach with our newly-acquired [and] drafted players in our Florida Complex League watching those guys make a push for the playoffs, and it’s fun to see these young guys running around and doing their thing.”