Most expected top prospect Victor Robles would be part of the Nationals sooner than later in 2018, but an elbow injury in mid-April suffered on a dive in the outfield buckled his arm and forced Robles into a lengthy 3-month DL stint with a hyper-extended elbow. It could have been worse for Robles as many feared after seeing that video of the injury. On July 7th, Robles headed to the Gulf Coast League to rehab then to his Triple-A Syracuse team on July 27th. With a little over a month with Syracuse, Robles finished up his Triple-A season yesterday with a slash of .278/.356/.386/.742. Now the question is: How will Nationals manager Dave Martinez get Robles playing time in a crowded outfield?
Maybe the answer on playing time for Robles will hinge on Bryce Harper‘s health as the pending free agent has been fighting a persistent cough and sinus issues.
“My body doesn’t feel very good,” Harper said yesterday after his walk-off. “…I think I’m just trying to grind out every single day and not try to worry about it — but coughing, yakking, all that good stuff. Just trying to not worry about it.”
Sitting Bryce Harper is clearly one option, or they could give Robles the starts that Michael Taylor was given against left-handed starting pitching. The other choice could be to give Harper some starts at first base which would be a Maddon-esque move, but we all remember Harper taking grounders prior to the All-Star break that got people talking.
Nobody expects Juan Soto to get any days off other than for those scheduled team days-off which will be on September 13th, 19th and 27th. In order to qualify for top batting statistics, players have to compile 3.1 PAs per team game played. In a 162 game season that is 502 PAs. Soto is now at 392 PAs with 110 to go with 24 games remaining in the regular season which means Soto will almost need to average 5 PAs per game for the remainder of the season which will be very difficult if he is not moved up to the lead-off spot. A h/t on this to Bob S. aka Section222.
In other news with the end of the Syracuse Chiefs season, the Nationals are set to add Erick Fedde who is tonight’s starting pitcher plus they will promote Kyle McGowin to the active roster with a coveted 40-man spot. The other players getting called up in addition to Fedde, McGowin and Robles are Joe Ross and Austin Voth along with infielder Adrian Sanchez. It will be a wait and see on Trevor Gott and Matt Reynolds, and we were told that Austin Adams and Bryan Harper would not be getting called up. In another not too surprising move, the Nationals gave Tommy Milone a rehab start at Double-A Harrisburg on Saturday and then outrighted him off the 40-man roster and assigned him to Syracuse whose season is over.
You will notice from that list of confirmed call-ups that only Adrian Sanchez and Robles are position players which were added and that gives the Nationals only a 7-man bench that includes Matt Wieters who is not near 100% healthy. Again, it’s possible that Matt Reynolds gets the call also but also possible that Rizzo is going to keep it simple here in September.
Speaking of the Minor Leagues, the Hagerstown Suns, Potomac Nationals, and the Harrisburg Senators have all extended agreements with the Nationals through 2020. The Nats are currently without a home for their Triple-A affiliate as the contract with the Syracuse Chiefs has ended.
There are several options for a new home for the Nats Triple-A affiliate and none of them are great as the potential suitors are all part of the Pacific Coast League’s 16-team division. The International League which is East Coast based has 14-teams and has no openings. A realignment would be difficult and extremely complicated, and the most logical moves for the Nats would be to take the vacated Las Vegas site which is nearly a 5 hour plane ride away or the Nats could try to take Nashville who does not have a new contract pending for the Oakland A’s. Out of all the likeliest possibilities, Nashville is geographically the closest Triple-A stadium to D.C., and they have a newer state of the art facility that was built a few years ago. It feels like a game of musical chairs, and a possible geographic nightmare which is why the Mets relocated finally from Las Vegas to Syracuse.
Nationals/Cardinals pitching matchups …
MON: Scherzer vs Mikolas
TUE: TBA vs Gant
WED: Roark vs Gomber
— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) September 2, 2018
Follow the bouncing Miles Mikolas, He did not start yesterday as the beat writers reported, and he is not starting today according to a media release from the Cardinals. The righty John Gant is scheduled to now start tonight against Fedde with Mikolas bounced to tomorrow against Tanner Roark.
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 7:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN; MLB.TV app out-of-network
Nats Radio: 106.7 The Fan and via the MLB app
Line-ups subject to change without notice: