I checked in with MLB Network analyst and former Colorado Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd to break down each of these players.
O’Dowd got the chance to see Robles play first-hand in the Arizona Fall League.
“I think they have a future star on their hands,” O’Dowd said. “I was fortunate enough to broadcast the Arizona Fall League championship game this year and he was in it. He was the starting center fielder. The player comparison I put on him was body-type, movement of an Andrew McCutchen, a young Andrew McCutchen obviously.
“Electric player, explosive, he’s got good bat-to-ball skills. Barrels up a lot of balls. I think power will come. He’s an electric outfielder. He’s the complete tool package, so if you look at the formation of their team, and if they can’t keep a Bryce Harper by the end of this season, you sure would like to have that guy in your back pocket because he has a chance to be an impactful player in the big leagues. He’s got a chance to be an All-Star.”
And that is the reason why, O’Dowd agrees, that president of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo will not entertain the suggestion of including Robles in trade talks. Every team that speaks to the Nats asks about Robles.
O’Dowd says Robles is honing his defensive skills to become that complete player, and is not far away from becoming an elite outfielder. Just like any other young star, he needs games and at-bats against top flight competition. I spoke last year of Robles’ ability to fire the ball in to third base from the center field wall.
“Yes, that might be the only part of his game that has some worked to do,” O’Dowd said of Robles’ outfield defense. “But I mean this is really a fun player to watch. He has the instincts to play the game, too. So the low side for me is a Marquis Grissom and the upside, the top side, is Andrew McCutchen. Either player is a really good player.”
But the bottom line, as we have discussed here recently, Robles and guys like Soto are important for the Nats outfield of the future, especially if they are unable to find a way to get Harper back into a new contract for 2019 and beyond.
Coming up next, we will get O’Dowd’s insight on Soto and Kieboom.