Nats' Robles set to show off Future potential

Ranked fifth in all of baseball, club's No. 1 prospect will get first real action on big stage in ASG event

July 7th, 2017

WASHINGTON -- Victor Robles' name has been thrown out there during the past few months, as he has been one of the most highly coveted prospects in the Nationals' system, linked in trade rumors and the desires of other teams. Robles -- ranked the No. 1 Nats prospect and No. 5 in all of baseball, according to -- will have one of his first opportunities to play on a national stage today.
Robles will be the lone Nationals representative for the 2017 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, which takes place today at 4 p.m. ET at Marlins Park in Miami and can be viewed live on MLB Network and
Robles will be one of 10 Dominican Republic natives who will play for the World Team. The outfielder just turned 20 years old in May, but he has skyrocketed up prospect rankings for some time now, with the potential to emerge as the top prospect in the game.
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"I think it's going to be probably the closest to a big league environment that he's going to be in," said Nationals Minor League outfield and baserunning coordinator Gary Thurman. "He's going to play with peers that are just as good or better than he is at all positions. He's going to face the best pitchers, see what the best position players look like in the Minor Leagues. And he's going to be able to kind of compare himself to what they do and where they are and how they play. I think it's very good for him."
Thurman, who is in Washington to serve as the first-base coach while Davey Lopes is away to deal with a family emergency, raved about the talent and tools Robles possesses, and he said the outfielder was well on his way to becoming an "impact player" at the Major League level. Robles has already excelled in the Carolina League this season, posting a slash line of .302/.388/.524 with 14 stolen bases and seven home runs.
And the Nationals have been impressed with the strides he has taken on defense. Robles has added some upper-body strength and gotten stronger, according to Nats director of player development Mark Scialabba.
"His first step, his jumps, his angles on balls have really improved," Scialabba said. "He's starting to show that he has a chance to be a premium defensive center fielder. He's done a nice job going back on balls, and [he] certainly has the arm strength to keep runners from taking the extra base. That's a big part of his game as well."
One area where Thurman has also seen improvement is Robles' ability to harness his aggressiveness. Speed is perhaps Robles' most dangerous tool, one that sometimes works to his detriment. He can play, at times, as if he is invincible, with huge turns around second base after a double and large leads that have gotten him picked off.
"Sometimes he would just run until he was tagged out," Thurman said. "Like he could outrun the ball."
Thurman has also noticed those instances have come less frequently this year, as Robles is making smarter decisions on the bases.
"The game will teach them that he can't do some of those things, especially when you start going up to higher levels," Thurman said. "He might have been able to get away with some of those things in the lower Minor Leagues. ... I think sometimes you let those guys go, you talk to them in the process, but the game will teach them a lot."