There's a reason Victor Robles' name surfaced in trade talks when the Nationals were linked to Andrew McCutchen and Chris Sale this offseason. And there's a reason Washington wouldn't give him up, even if it meant not landing one of those All-Stars.Robles has the best all-around tools of any player
There's a reason Victor Robles' name surfaced in trade talks when the Nationals were linked to Andrew McCutchen and Chris Sale this offseason. And there's a reason Washington wouldn't give him up, even if it meant not landing one of those All-Stars.
Robles has the best all-around tools of any player on MLBPipeline.com's just-released Top 100 Prospects list.
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Using the 20-80 scouting scale, where 50 represents Major League average, we projected Robles as a 60 hitter with 50 power, 70 speed, 65 arm strength and 60 defense in center field. That package, which equates to a .280 hitter with 15-18 homers and 30 steals plus potential Gold Glove defense, helped him rank No. 8 on the Top 100, behind seven prospects who are closer to reaching their own considerable ceilings.
The sum of Robles' five tools adds up to 305. For comparison's sake, Byron Buxton had the highest total on last year's Top 100 at 340, with Robles coming in second at 300. Michael Trout's sum was 335 when he was a prospect, and Bo Jackson's would have been 370 -- almost certainly the highest in the Draft era. Bo knew tools.
(Time for a quick disclaimer: Yes, we know that some tools matter more than others and there's more to evaluating prospects than simply adding up their five tools. This is meant to be a fun look at some of the most talented players on the Top 100, not the most scientific of analyses.)
Just behind Robles in terms of all-around brilliance is another center fielder who was used as the centerpiece of a blockbuster trade the previous offseason. Manuel Margot (No. 23 on the Top 100) highlighted the four-player package the Red Sox sent to the Padres for Craig Kimbrel in November 2015.
Margot is arguably the top defensive prospect in the Minors (we graded him as a 70), also has a sterling track record as a hitter (60) and possesses well above-average speed (70) and plus arm strength (60). His lone subpar tool is his below-average power (40), though his total still comes to an impressive 300.
Mets shortstop Amed Rosario (No. 5) is the standout among infielders, coming in third overall with a tools total of 295. He stands out most for his defensive prowess and arm strength, earning 65s in both categories, but also has plenty of offensive upside with plus hitting ability and speed. He has fringy power, though that's more than most middle infielders possess.
Three players tied for fourth at 290. White Sox second baseman Yoan Moncada (No. 2) should be no surprise, because he received the same score a year ago and his talent helped persuade the White Sox to send Sale to Boston. Often described as Robinson Cano with more speed, Moncada is a switch-hitter with electric bat speed from both sides of the plate, well above-average speed and a strong arm.
Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger (No. 13) and Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman (No. 100) also have 290s, which is notable considering where they play. Up-the-middle players usually feature the broadest array of tools, given the demands of their positions. Twenty of the 21 Top 100 Prospects who averaged 55 or better tools across the board last year were potential middle infielders or center fielders, and the same is true of 20 of 23 this time around.
Bellinger and Chapman are both members of MLBPipeline's All-Defense Team, meriting 70 grades with their gloves. They also stood out on our list of superlative tools on the Top 100, with Bellinger the game's top power prospect (65) and Chapman owning the strongest arm in the Minors (75).
Highest total scouting grades among Top 100:
C -- Jorge Alfaro, Phillies (No. 72), 265
1B -- Cody Bellinger, Dodgers (No. 13), 290
2B -- Yoan Moncada, White Sox (No. 2), 290
3B -- Nick Senzel, Reds (No. 26): 280
SS -- Amed Rosario, Mets (No. 5): 295
OF -- Victor Robles, Nationals (No. 8): 305
OF -- Manuel Margot, Padres (No. 23): 300
3B -- Matt Chapman, Athletics (No. 100): 290
OF -- Andrew Benintendi, Red Sox (No. 1): 285
OF -- Lewis Brinson, Brewers (No. 18): 285
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.