3 Nats phenoms did something unprecedented

April 28th, 2019

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals' youth movement is in full swing -- home run swing, that is.

, and made history on Sunday against the Padres, becoming the first trio of teammates aged 21 or younger to homer in the same game in MLB history, according to Elias. They were a major reason why the Nationals stormed back after facing a six-run deficit in the third inning to win Sunday’s series finale, 7-6, thanks to a walk-off home run in the 11th inning from Matt Adams.

“I feel very proud of what we accomplished,” Robles said through team interpreter Octavio Martinez. "It feels great to take the field with these gentlemen. Nothing is written in stone in baseball, so things are meant to be established for the first time."

No team since the 1997 Marlins has had three different players in the starting lineup under the age of 22, let alone all go deep in the same game.

Soto -- the youngest of the bunch at 20 years old, who also has the most big league experience -- got the scoring started with a three-run homer in the third inning. Robles, who will turn 22 on May 19, connected with a solo homer to begin the fourth inning. And then Kieboom, in just his third career game, tied the game at 6 with his second career clout in the fifth.

The young trio combined to go 6-for-16 on Sunday with a walk, four runs scored, five RBIs and a stolen base.

“Those guys are just special ballplayers,” Nationals starter Jeremy Hellickson said. “Not letting the moment get to them. They’re just special ballplayers that love to play the game, and they’re not overmatched out there at all. It’s fun to watch those guys.”

A year ago, the trio comprised Washington's top three prospects, according to MLB Pipeline. They were who the club touted when they envisioned their bright future.

All three have taken slightly different paths to the Majors. Soto debuted last May as a 19-year-old and has become a fixture in the heart of the Nationals' lineup since. Robles took over as the starting center fielder at the start of this season and has hit his way to the top of the lineup. And this was Kieboom’s first weekend in the big leagues, which he celebrated with a pair of game-tying home runs.

All three are injecting some life into one of the oldest position-player groups in baseball. Overall, Washington hitters have an average age of 28.9 years -- the league average is 28.4 -- which is the ninth oldest in the Majors. Together, with shortstop Trea Turner and third baseman Anthony Rendon -- if the Nationals can extend his stay beyond this season -- will make up the club's core for years to come.

“The energy they come out on the field with, how poised they are -- they play with a lot of emotion, but when things get tight, they seem to hone it in and act like they’ve been doing it a long time up here,” Adams said. “It’s really cool to watch and be a part of. I’m thankful we’ve got those three on our side.”