Victor Robles was a player who was once viewed as a potential elite player, as he was a Top 10 prospect heading into 2019. While he added to the hype with a strong 2019 season (.255 with 17 HR and 28 SB), things fell flat in 2020:
168 At Bats
.220 Batting Average (37 Hits)
3 Home Runs
4 Stolen Bases
.293 On Base Percentage
.315 Slugging Percentage
.298 Batting Average on Balls in Play
Robles clearly wasn’t hitting the ball with much authority, as he struggled to generate extra base hits (5 doubles and 1 triple). That’s only the start of the issues, though it is a significant one. His 82.2 mph Exit Velocity tied him for the third lowest in the league, behind only Ender Inciarte and Omar Narvaez. Couple that with a 21.2% Hard% (after a 24.9% last season) and it’s clear that his home run total in 2020 was a bit of an aberration. Maybe he grows into more power, but for now it’s hard to bank on.
Then you have questions about his approach:
- SwStr% – 12.8%
- O-Swing% – 34.2%
He’s always struggled to draw a walk, with a career 5.3% walk rate. It’s hard to tap into his speed if he’s not getting on base, isn’t it? Considering that he had just as many problems with fourseam fastball, as he hit .206 against them, it’s hard to envision huge changes coming.
Robles’ speed could, and maybe should, lead to a better BABIP. Is that enough? As it is his ceiling may be 30ish SB, and if he isn’t drawing many walks or hitting the ball with authority even that may be a stretch. Just adding to that is the dramatic split he showed against RHP/LHP last season:
- vs. RHP – .180/.250/.279
- vs. LHP – .326/.404/.413
It’s always going to be harder to steal against southpaws, and with that being his best skill the risk only grows. The ceiling is there, but the floor is also awfully low. Would it be shocking to see a .240ish hitter with 7-9 HR and 15-20 SB? There’s value, but not enough to go crazy about.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball, Baseball Savant