Nationals center fielder Víctor Robles was in camp on Saturday, per various reporters (including Todd Dybas of NBC Sports Washington and Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com). Robles worked out yesterday and will face live pitching for the first time this afternoon.
The 23-year-old had been isolating after coming into contact with a coronavirus-afflicted teammate a few weeks back. It isn’t clear if he ever contracted the virus himself, but he’s evidently now cleared all the necessary protocols for a return.
The former top prospect is a vital piece of the Nats’ attempted title defense. He made good on his first extended run of big league action in 2019. Robles was merely serviceable at the plate (.255/.326/.419 with 17 home runs in 617 plate appearances), but he was dynamic in all other aspects. He swiped 28 bases and rated as a clear plus overall on the basepaths. More importantly, Robles immediately stepped forward as one of the sport’s most dynamic defenders. His 23 defensive runs saved led all center fielders, while Statcast credited him with 14 outs above average. That more than lived up to scouts’ longtime lofty projections on his glove.
It remains to be seen if the delay will sideline Robles early in the regular season. As manager Dave Martinez acknowledged to Zuckerman, he’s certainly well behind on live reps. No doubt, the club will be cautious not to overexert the prized youngster physically. Nevertheless, Martinez left open the possibility Robles could be on the active roster right out of the gate. Michael A. Taylor would figure to see the biggest uptick in playing time if Robles’ work is limited early on.