A lot of buzz has been generated by the start for 18-year-old Dominican outfielder Victor Robles, who moved quickly from the Dominican Summer League Nats to the Gulf Coast League and is now playing for the short-season Single-A Auburn Doubledays.
Robles has hit .342 in his last 10 games and is batting .363 overall in 44 minor league games.
I checked in with Auburn manager Gary Cathcart on a recent road trip to spotlight the progress of Robles. Cathcart said Robles is impressing on all counts.
“Just about as exciting a young player as you would want to have,” Cathcart said. “Five tools, just turned 18 (years old) at the end of extended spring. Just a matter of him learning how to play the game. That’s what we’re doing with him every day, making sure he’s developing good habits, really setting the foundation for him for the rest of his career because the talent is immense. He’s going to be an exciting young man to watch.”
Robles has already demonstrated his speed with 17 stolen bases. He can move in the outfield as well. Cathcart said Robles does not look or play like most rookies he sees this time of the summer each season.
“You know I don’t know if I’ve seen very many 18-year-olds in this league,” Cathcart said. “The thing that sticks out about Victor is for that age, playing against this competition, he looks like he’s the veteran guy. He’s fearless in the way he plays. You don’t see anything timid about him. He’s going to make his mistakes. He’s still got a lot to learn in the way he’s playing the game.
“He loves to play, very energetic, which at that age, especially for a young Latin player, sometimes those guys take little bit longer to develop. It’s amazing to watch him go about his business every day like he’s a 10-year veteran.”
Cathcart believes Robles will likely move quickly, and he says that the talent level he is seeing from the Dominican players, plus the rapid increase in numbers of Dominican players on his roster, is in direct correlation to the work of Director of Latin American Operations Johnny DiPuglia and his staff. They have worked diligently on implementing over the last half dozen seasons Dominican operations for the club which includes the success of the Dominican baseball academy to graduate players capable of playing for the Nationals at their top levels.