Nationals select Robles’ contract, recall Bautista and Stevenson

The Washington Nationals selected the contract of outfielder Victor Robles from Double-A Harrisburg on Thursday, recalled outfielders Rafael Bautista and Andrew Stevenson from Triple-A Syracuse, and transferred right-handed pitcher Erick Fedde to the 60-day disabled list. Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcements.

Robles, 20, joins the Nationals for the first Major League assignment of his career. The consensus best prospect in the Nationals’ system, Robles is considered one of the top prospects in all of baseball. MLB.com ranks him as the fourth-best league-wide, and Baseball America listed him at No. 8 in their 2017 mid-season update.

A 2017 Futures Game selection, Robles hit .300 in the Minor Leagues this season, playing 77 games for Single-A Potomac and 37 games for Double-A Harrisburg. Combined, he finished the season with 37 doubles, eight triples, 10 home runs, 47 RBI, 27 stolen bases, 37 walks, and 73 runs scored in a career-high 114 games.

A Carolina League (High-A) mid-season and post-season All-Star, Robles accelerated his performance this season when he was promoted to a higher level on July 24. He hit .324 (45-for-139) with 12 doubles, one triple, three home runs, 14 RBI, 11 stolen bases, 12 walks, and 24 runs scored, posting a .394 on-base percentage with Double-A Harrisburg. He hit safely in 20 of his last 21 games of the season, including 17 straight, from Aug. 11 - Sept. 4, and ranked among Nationals Minor Leaguers for the season in average (4th, .300), and stolen bases (2nd, 27).

Entering the 2017 season, Baseball America named Robles as the “Best Athlete,” “Best Hitter for Average,” “Best Defensive Outfielder,” and “Best Outfield Arm” in the Nationals Minor League system.

Signed as a non-drafted free agent on July 2, 2013, Robles has moved steadily up the prospect rankings since joining the organization. Rated by BA first as the No. 25 prospect in the Nationals’ system entering the 2015 season, Robles entered the 2016 season as Washington’s third-best prospect, and entered 2017 at the top of that list. Not coincidentally, he’s also risen through the overall Major League prospect rankings, starting at No. 33 following the 2015 campaign, and sitting at No. 8 league-wide at the time of his first promotion to the big leagues, per BA.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Robles joins Rafael Bautista, Wilmer Difo, Raudy Read, and Pedro Severino as Dominican players who were signed and developed by the Nationals through their revamped Latin American operations to occupy a spot on this year’s Major League roster.

Bautista, 24, joins the Nationals for his third call-up of the season. The athletic outfielder finished his Minor League season hitting .259 with 11 doubles, two triples, 14 RBI, 14 walks, nine stolen bases, and 30 runs scored in 56 games. In his two previous MLB assignments, Bautista was 3-for-12 (.250) with one walk.

Stevenson, 23, returns to Washington after six Minor League games closed out his Triple-A season. The speedy outfielder has appeared in 29 games with the Nationals, hitting .167 (8-for-48) with two doubles, five walks, an RBI, one stolen base and four runs scored. Between Double-A and Triple-A this year, Stevenson hit .272 with 12 doubles, five triples, two home runs, 38 RBI, 11 stolen bases and 52 runs scored in 99 games.

Fedde, 24, made three Major League starts this season. He went 0-1 with a 9.39 ERA in those outings. The Nationals’ No. 2 prospect entering the season per Baseball America, Fedde was 4-5 with a 3.69 ERA in 29 games (13 starts) in the Minor Leagues. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Sept. 4 with a right forearm flexor strain.