Washington Nationals: Different starts to season for top prospects Victor Robles, Juan Soto

LAKELAND, FL - MARCH 12: Victor Robles
LAKELAND, FL - MARCH 12: Victor Robles /

The Washington Nationals top prospects Victor Robles, Juan Soto, are making news for different reasons.

The 2018 season has started differently for the Washington Nationals top two prospects, outfielders Victor Robles and Juan Soto.

The top-ranked Robles, who made his major league debut with Washington this past September, left yesterday’s game in the second inning with what was initially diagnosed as a hyperextended left elbow. Playing for Triple-A Syracuse in a game at Rochester, Robles dove for a pop fly in short center field and landed awkwardly on his left side and was removed from the game.

“I looked real quick, and I turned my head, it wasn’t good,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said to mlb.com after seeing the replay. Martinez added more tests would be forthcoming once the swelling in his elbow subsides.

With Bryce Harper scheduled to hit free agency following the season Robles is seen as his heir apparent in the event, Harper chooses to leave Washington.

Then it comes out this morning the Nationals made a couple of roster moves, including placing left fielder Adam Eaton on the 10-day disabled list with a bone bruise on his left ankle. To replace Eaton, the Nats recalled journeyman Moises Sierra who last appeared in the majors in 2014.

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Despite his hot start, Eaton had been having problems with the ankle since he first suffered the injury in spring training. The spot to replace Eaton could have easily gone to Robles.

On the other side of the coin is the hot start of Juan Soto who is beginning the season with Low-Class A Hagerstown. Soto, who missed all but 32 games in 2017 with a variety of injuries, started the season 2-11 before going 4-5 on Sunday with a homer and establishing a career high with four RBI.

A career-high which would last one day.

Soto went 3-3 yesterday and reached base five times and established a new single-game RBI mark with six. Unlike Robles who is a right-handed hitter and thrower, Soto is a double southpaw. Robles is also younger (by 16 months) and will play the entire 2018 season as a 19-year-old.

There are some evaluators (myself included) who believe Soto has a higher major league ceiling than Robles, but he’ll need to stay healthy to reach that ceiling.

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Robles is knocking on the door to Washington and Soto isn’t too far behind. I’m of the opinion Harper will re-sign with Washington and the thought of a Harper, Robles, Soto outfield is pretty exciting.

Time and money will tell.