Fantasy Outlook: Victor Robles Is Set To Return To The Majors, But Will He Really Make A Difference?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

As fantasy owners recover from the news that Eloy Jimenez won’t be summoned to the Majors, we at least are going to get another look at the Nationals’ Victor Robles.  For a team that has clearly turned it’s attention to 2019 and beyond it makes sense for Washington to give him an opportunity, especially given the potential that Bryce Harper walks in the offseason.  We know what Michael Taylor and Adam Eaton and neither should act as a deterrent to Robles.

Of course Robles himself hasn’t thrived in 2018, though injuries/missed time have likely played a significant role in his struggles.  He’s been heating up of late, extending his hitting streak to eight games on Monday as he’s gone 13-34 (.382) with 8 R and 3 SB over the streak.  We’d like to see a bit more power (1 HR) and RBI (3 RBI), and without the power we’d especially like to see a few more walks (1 BB).  He hasn’t struck out much though (3 K), so the streak is sending strong signals all the same.

Overall in the minors he’s hitting .276 with 2 HR and 19 SB over 192 AB.  He has shown the ability to make contact consistently (6.8% SwStr% entering yesterday) and the speed is obvious, though there are a few concerns:

  • Line Drive Rate – 19.4%
  • Pull% – 54.0%

For a player who isn’t hitting for much power, the Pull% is concerning as it will make him susceptible to the shift.  We’d also like to see more in terms of his line drive rate, and before we chalk either mark up to the injuries he posted rates of 20.3% and 52.2% a year ago.

If the strikeouts regress (and his 12.3% SwStr% last season in the minors, before a 13.7% mark in his 27 PA in the Majors, indicate that’s highly possible), the other numbers are going to significantly cap his average potential.  That’s not a good thing, especially as we continue to wait for his power to develop and he’s never shown an ability to draw many walks.

His biggest skill is his speed, and if he isn’t getting on base he simply isn’t going to be able to display it.  He should get an opportunity down the stretch and could make an impact in terms of SB, but fantasy owners also shouldn’t expect him to be a true difference maker.  Here’s our expectation for him over the remainder of the season:

.250, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 10 R, 5 SB

When you couple that pedestrian line with the potential that he doesn’t play every day (further dragging down the expectation) and it’s impossible to call him a must start option (though the upside makes him worth grabbing, just in case he catches fire).

Sources – Fangraphs, MILB.com

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