Deep down on the Washington Nationals farm, there is an exciting trio atop the Hagerstown Suns lineup. Victor Robles, Max Schrock and Kelvin Gutierrez are lighting up the Sally in an offensive barrage that has the Suns sitting at 18-9 heading into the final two games of the weekend.
The Hagerstown Trio sounds more like a 1920s jazz group that an upstart gang of prospects. That is exactly what they are. All three are in the top ten in the South Atlantic League in batting average, and they combine to litter the top ten in nearly every other statistical category.
So, who are they?
Leading off for the Suns is who is widely considered their third best prospect in the system. While all eyes are on the 2016 arrival dates of Lucas Giolito (or right now, what is wrong with him) and Trea Turner, Victor Robles has etched out his spot as one of baseball’s elite prospects. Right now, the Nationals sure look like geniuses for signing this kid for a mere $225,000.
The soon to be 19-year old out of the Dominican Republic has done nothing but hit since coming state side. Last season he shredded the Gulf Coast League and quickly became the youngest starting position player in the NYPL. By season’s end, anyone that didn’t know Robles certainly did.
He slashed a combined .352/.445/.507 over both levels showing that he has attributes that make him a traditional stud five-tool player. Of his 75 hits, 11 were doubles, five were triples and four were home runs. He has elite speed, stealing 24 bases in 29 attempts, and that speed, combined with an outstanding arm, make him arguably the premier centerfielder in the SAL. Robles may never be a 30 home run guy, but he seems to be developing enough pop and has the speed to generate plenty of extra base hits.
Robles doesn’t walk an incredibly large amount, but he also doesn’t strikeout a lot either. Great at contact, last season he only walked 18 times in 261 plate appearances, but he only struck out 33 times. He has worked on slimming that margin even more this season, striking out 14 times and walking nine in his first 121 at bats. His numbers thus far (.357/.458/.541) are all on pace to out perform 2015’s breakout, and he’s doing it all at his first season at full-season ball.
Setting the table behind Robles is 21-year old shortstop Max Schrock. Schrock ended last season as a little known shortstop prospect out of South Carolina buried behind Turner in the Nats system, but his quick start in 2016 is silencing skeptics and proving that his 2015 debut may not have been a fluke.
For more on Schrock, Gutierrez video footage and analysis, head over to Minor League Ball for the full article by clicking the link below:
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