In a move that surprised just about everyone except the talk-radio philistines, the Washington Nationals called up their #1 position prospect, Victor Robles.
On the other hand, the corresponding news that Brian Goodwin, the erstwhile 1st Rd. (supplemental) pick from 2011 who finally realized his potential this season, was likely done for the year should also come as no surprise in a season where everyone has gotten hurt for the big club.
I had concluded my penultimate MASN column with a elbow-to-the-ribs line about Robles. So when I saw Jeff Passan’s tweet around 3 o’clock this afternoon, I felt like Harris Telemacher in “L.A. Story,” joking about his wife cheating on him… only to find it out it was actually true.
Still, the Nationals also called up Andrew Stevenson and Rafael Bautista: two outfielders with both MLB and AAA experience, of which Robles has neither (but in fairness, he has more talent than the two multiplied). This is key because some folks immediately and mistakenly made the comparison to Trea Turner and Michael Taylor as late-season callups in the heat of a playoff race (more in a bit), which ignores how much more time they spent at AA (68G, 98G respectively vs. 35G) and AAA (48G, 12G, 0G). More astute folks reference Ryan Zimmerman, who also spent 0 games at AAA, or Anthony Rendon, though he was called up in the spring and was older than all but Taylor.
And let’s be honest: with a magic number that can be counted on two hands—one if you’re Antonio Alfonseca—there’s almost no pressure on the Nats right now. Perhaps that’s why the Nats are willing to start the arbitration clock early, although it’s very hard not to be cynical and wonder if he’s being showcased for another offseason trade (is there anyone left on the A’s we want?). I hope not; I’d much rather think this is a preview of things to come.