Nationals get good news about top prospect Victor Robles after scary elbow injury
Robles is still facing a long recovery, however
Last Monday the 20-year-old Robles suffered a scary-looking left elbow injury while attempting a diving catch during a Triple-A game. Here's the video. Like I said, it looked pretty bad:
The Nationals initially feared Robles suffered structural damage that would sidelined him the remainder of the season and even into early next season. Tests brought good news, however. Manager Dave Martinez confirmed Monday that Robles hyperextended the elbow but did not tear any muscles or ligaments.
"Robles is not needing surgery at this point," Martinez said. "What we thought was going to be a year, it might not take that long. Prognosis was good. He's still going to have a long recovery, but it's not going to be as long as we thought."
Martinez believes Robles could return to baseball this season.
"He has got no tear. He's got good strength," Martinez said. "We are hoping to get him back, maybe not for a couple months. The good news is there is no tear."
The good news: Robles didn't do any serious damage to his elbow and he doesn't need surgery. The bad news: Robles is still facing a lengthy recovery, as Martinez said. That's valuable development time he won't get back.
Coming into the season Baseball America ranked Robles as the fifth best prospect in baseball. MLB.com ranks him as the sixth best prospect in baseball. Here is a snippet of MLB.com's free scouting report:
Robles possesses off-the-charts athleticism as well as five standout tools that he showcases on a daily basis. He has the makings of plus hitter from the right side of the plate, with a compact but explosive swing and a present feel for using the whole field ... Robles' approach and strike-zone judgment are also mature ... A plus-plus runner, Robles impacts games with his wheels on the bases as well as in center field, where he has exceptional range and instincts as well as arm strength that's among the best in the Minors at the position.
From his athleticism to his immense physical tools and his baseball savvy, Robles has the makings of becoming a true franchise player for the Nationals, one who has the upside of a perennial All-Star and possibly an MVP candidate.
The Nationals believe in Robles so much that they called him up late last season, at age 20, and carried him on their NLDS roster. Robles went 6 for 24 (.250) with a double and two triples as a September call-up last season, and he appeared in two postseason games off the bench.
Last year Robles hit .300/.382/.493 with 37 doubles, 10 home runs, and 27 steals in 114 minor league games split between High Class-A and Double-A. He was off to a 5 for 13 (.385) start in four Triple-A games before the injury this year. If not for the injury, there's a decent chance Robles would've joined Washington on a more permanent basis at midseason.
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