Prospects Poppin’: Who Is Victor Robles?
Trust and value your sources. Doing so is obviously of great importance when delving into the world of prospects, particularly since it’s impossible to keep track of the roughly 9,712 different minor league players currently getting a paycheck to play baseball. Whether it’s John Sickels of Minor League Ball, Keith Law of ESPN Insider, Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs, Ben Badler or JJ Cooper or any other the other fine folks at Baseball America, the great prospect team over at Baseball Prospectus — you get the idea — when a voice you trust tells you to pay attention to prospect you’ve never heard of, you’re best served as a dynasty league owner to take notice. Hopefully we have a few folks here at The Dynasty Guru whose opinions that you trust and value, and one person whose opinion I value greatly is Jeff Moore of Baseball Prospectus. When Jeff left this little nugget in his Spring Training notebook on March 26th, my ears perked up and I filed it away for later:
“Robles has yet to appear stateside in regular season action, so excitement should be quelled for the moment, but keep it in the queue. This is a name you’re going to hear a lot about soon.”
My first reaction was, “why the hell doesn’t that name ring a bell?” My second reaction was to immediately add him to my watch list (which is up to about 342 minor leaguers at this point) with the intention to monitor his progress this season. I worked my way to the Google machine next and found that Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs had Robles ranked no. 18 on his preseason list of Nationals prospects and said of the center fielder: “He’ll head to the GCL next year and could shoot up this list if the raw tools convert into performance, as he’ll be aged like 2015 draft high school players.” My interest was certainly piqued at that point.
Robles, who checks in at six feet and weighs 185 pounds, was signed for $250,000 as a part of Washington’s 2013 July 2nd class and was sent to their Dominican Summer League squad for his age-17 season. The right-handed hitting Robles clubbed his way to a .313/.408/.484 line during the 2014 season, adding three home runs, stealing 22 bases (in 31 attempts) and striking out in only twenty-six of his 213 plate appearances.
Robles started this season in the Gulf Coast League and wasn’t phased by his first taste of stateside action one bit, hitting a cool .370 and getting on base nearly half the time. Robles’ impressive 1.045 OPS in 94 plate appearances, which included two homers and 12 stolen bases, earned him a ticket to the New-York Penn League and respected names in the prospect world started to offer praise for the Nationals fast-rising prospect:
The Nationals are promoting 18-year-old CF Victor Robles to short-season Auburn. Their No. 6 prospect now, could be No. 1 soon.
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) July 18, 2015
The New York-Penn League is a level mainly comprised of recent college graduates, and Robles is currently being challenged by players three years his senior on average. He hasn’t been phased by the older competition in his first 14 games of action, winning Player of the Week honors in his first week. Robles (small sample alert) has hit .357/.397/.607 in his first 64 plate appearances, mashing two home runs (among his seven extra base hits) and stealing two bases in four attempts. Scouts have certainly taken notice of Robles this season, with one disclosing to Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs that he would place a 60 overall grade on him. McDaniel conceded that was ‘pretty close’ to where he would have him and for reference — using McDaniel’s preseason list — that would put Robles somewhere between Blake Swihart (ranked no. 9 overall) and Jon Gray (no. 28) on his Top-200 prospect list.
Very little video exists of Robles, but a recent July 31st clip brought to us by ‘mwashuc06,’ the internet’s leader in wobbly prospect footage, shows his bat speed and wheels in action:
The Nationals have uncovered a five-tool performer and a potential six category fantasy beast. Robles is an exciting, fast-rising prospect that is likely available in your league now — but that won’t be the case for much longer. Buy Robles now or the next time you try it’s likely to cost quite a bit more.
J.J. Jansons is a contributor to The Dynasty Guru. Be one of the first to follow him (literally) on Twitter, where you can request future topics to be covered here at TDG. Follow @jansons_jj
An article on Robles 6-8 weeks ago would have been nice. He’s already owned in competitive deep dynasties.
Agreed. Robles played his first game this season June 22nd so many people wanted to see more of him before investing fully, myself included. I grabbed him last week in a deep league I’m in and he’s still unlisted in the CBS player universe so hopefully this was still helpful to a few people.
What would we have written about 6-8 weeks ago? Honest question because we had zero statistically to talk about. Robles value has spiked over the last month when he started destroying the NY-Penn League, going from an extremely young hitter to watch, to a must-own commodity. He may be owned in extremely deep formats, but that doesn’t stop you from trading for him.
For starters, he is the youngest player in the New-York Penn-League and completely destroyed the Gulf Coast league. He batted batted .370 and got on base at a .484 clip before being promoted.Additionally, he had a great 10:12 BB to K ratio while playing in the GCL. 12 steals on top of all that isn’t bad either. I realize you guys aren’t fortune tellers but he’s received a lot of hype lately.
How did you first hear about Robles? I understand that you guys aren’t fortune tellers (or, as much as I know, professional scouts for that matter) so you guys are correct that I shouldn’t have expected an article 6-8 weeks ago, however, it definitely was possible to see this coming.
Some did see this coming even though they didn’t aggressively rank them highly. Keith Law of ESPN in his preseason Washington Nationals top 10 list said:
“Down the road a bit further, remember the name Victor Robles, the Nats’ star prospect from their Dominican Summer League team last year; he’s a center fielder who has 6s and 7s all over his scouting report, with a plus arm, above-average to plus run, excellent bat speed, and the kind of fast-twitch body scouts love to see.”
Kiley McDaniel had this to say about Robles before the season started:
“Robles is one of the most exciting players in the system and his only experience since signing for $225,000 on July 2, 2013, was this year in the DSL and a limited stint in instructs this fall. He’ll head to the GCL next year and could shoot up this list if the raw tools convert into performance, as he’ll be aged like 2015 draft high school players. He raked at age 17 in the DSL thanks to an advanced/patient approach, especially given his age and background, average raw power, and plus bat speed, foot speed and arm strength.”
Lasly, Jeff Moore of Baseball Prospectus knew Robles had the talent and ability to perform well too.
“The back fields in spring training require a creative eye and lots of projection, but none more so than a field with last year’s Dominican Summer League and Gulf Coast League teams on it competing against a team of French Canadian amateurs. Still, in the context of his age-appropriate contemporaries, the young-even-for-this-field Robles stood out based on tools alone.
Naturally, he’s thin and needs to add weight, but so do most 17-year-olds. However, most don’t have plus bat speed, a mature swing, an above-average arm, and the range to play center field. That’s a pretty good start to any prospect, and a brief look at in-game action gave a sense of him understanding how to use it on the field. That’s even better.
Robles has yet to appear stateside in regular season action, so excitement should be quelled for the moment, but keep it in the queue. This is a name you’re going to hear a lot about soon.”
Honestly, I feel the quality of the articles in the site as a whole has taken a step back. I’ve only been reading The Dynasty Guru since about March and I have to say, “The Brent Honeywell Buzz” is probably the best article I’ve ever read for a breakout prospect.
(Link to the article: http://thedynastyguru.com/2015/03/25/the-brent-honeywell-buzz/)
It was in-depth analysis of one of the most unique pitchers in the minors. I had no clue he even existed and it made me really look forward to his performance in the 2015 season. Now he’s a top 40 prospect according to Baseball America and George Bissell really nailed that one.
Bissell’s article did what it was supposed to do. It made me believe Honeywell was going to do well before the season started. That article was only based on less than 3 months worth of stats and his pitching repertoire. Additionally, the post by Winkelman about amateur players who may be un-owned in dynasty leagues back in March was extremely helpful and another well-written article. (http://thedynastyguru.com/2015/03/10/looking-outside-the-2014-amatuer-draft-who-might-not-be-owned/)
If you can write an article on a pitcher with almost no professional stats like Honeywell, I don’t see why you can’t do it with Robles. Even if you want to write a post or update about guys to keep an eye on, it would help both you and your readers out in the long run.
To be frank, I was disappointed by the lack of articles about breakout prospect speculation. Sure, an article on buying and selling disappointing hitters/pithcers is good every once and a while, but should be far from the norm. Additionally, an article about Nippon Baseball doesn’t serve a purpose to me as a consumer looking to improve my dynasty team. Unless it was posted for recreational purposes or because the players written about are about to come state-side, it’s not worth my time. If I want to read about international baseball I’ll spend more time at One World Sports.
I’m not asking for much. I just expect a site about dynasty fantasy leagues to feature more news about prospects before everyone who knows anything about prospects are all-aboard the hype train. It was slightly dissappointing to find no articles on De Leon and Reyes’ breakout (more-so De Leon considering Reyes was a top-100 prospect universally this season) considering it not only would have helped readers and dynasty league players at the time, but it would have also been very interesting to find out the mechanical changes they made to rise up prospect rankings. If my expectations of this site are too high, then I’ll find somewhere else to get my content.
So i guess I need to start paying for BA because I was too late on Robles.
I have to say this site has been a gold mine of information since I stumbled upon it late last year. But there are some great suggestions here as well.
July and August is a great time to start identifying those fast risers in the short season leagues. But for a lot of us, it can be difficult to distinguish between all the great stat lines being put up in small sample sizes. Quick write-ups on guys who seem to be matching stats to hype would be a great heads up for those of us looking to pick up the next Robles (2015), or Devers (2014), or Urias (2013)…
931 words complaining about a free site that doesn’t even have ads? Did you donate and expect some kind of return? If not… get a life.
I’m simply stating my opinion on how this site could be improved. At least my comment was constructive.
I’m in keeper leagues with smaller minor league systems, so I often find the stuff here quite useful. Robles was a free agent in all of my leagues, and went ahead and snapped him up in the one that made most sense. Heck, he isn’t even listed yet in the huge CBS player database. So yeah, he’s been pretty off-the-radar. My only complaint about this website is that there isn’t MORE content.
Not sure if you’ll still see comments on this, but are you still as high on Robles? I’m tempted to take him in my 16-team contracts league as my 3rd (and final) prospect. Others in contention are Ryan McMahon, Andrew Benintendi, David Dahl & Nick Williams. Would I be nuts to jump them and grab Robles? Thanks in advance.
It depends on your contention cycle. I’d probably take all of those guys over Robles as they are much closer to the big leagues. The one that I’d take a tougher time with would be Dahl, but I’d pretty comfortably take the other three ahead of Robles, even if you’re looking to hold and flip later.