In the course of the 60-game 2020 marketing campaign, over the winter, and once more early in Spring Coaching, Washington Nationals’ supervisor Davey Martinez has been clear that the burden his middle fielder, Victor Robles, placed on final season, whereas all muscle, undoubtedly affected the 23-year-old’s velocity and agility.
“We talked to him about it,” Martinez advised reporters in December, “… and like I stated, it’s lots about agility drills, getting his quickness again. Like I stated, he’s a beast. He’s obtained such an unbelievable physique, however he can not lose his quickness, his velocity, as a result of that’s who he’s, that’s how he performs, so with that being stated, we’ve obtained eyes on him.”
Robles performed within the Dominican Winter League for a time, and the Nationals’ coach and the coach within the DR had been watching him intently, and Martinez stated when he was performed there the work would proceed.
“He needed to play to hone in on his swing, and he’s swinging lots higher. So, however I advised him he’s going to should spend January actually, actually specializing in his quickness and his velocity.”
Robles apparently took the recommendation from the Nationals’ brass severely.
When place gamers arrived in West Palm Seashore, FL for the beginning of exercises final week, he was noticeably slimmed down in accordance with his supervisor.
“He appears to be like good, he actually does,” Martinez stated. “He slimmed down slightly bit. His footwork has been good within the outfield. Like I stated, he revamped his swing slightly bit, he’s slightly shorter to the baseball. To this point all the things appears to be like good. Need to him to remain wholesome, wish to get him into video games, and get him taking part in once more, and as everyone knows the upside with Victor is unbelievable. We wish to get him again to that Gold Glove standing and proceed to develop.”
Robles completed 2020 with a .220/.293/.315 line, 5 doubles, and three house runs within the 52 video games he performed and 189 plate appearances he made final season, over which he was price -0.2 fWAR.
That adopted a 2019 marketing campaign which noticed him put up a .255/.326/.419 line with 33 doubles and 17 HRs in 155 video games and 617 plate appearances in a 2.5 fWAR season.
Defensively final 12 months, Robles, who had completed at +23 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) in 2019, ended up -4 DRS over 52 video games, with an Final Zone Score (UZR), which fell from 5.3 in 1,199 innings in ‘19, to a -3.6 UZR in 422 2⁄3 innings out in middle area in 2020.
Martinez stated early this spring, Robles appeared more just like the 2019 model of himself than the one everybody noticed final summer season.
“He’s slimmed down, he’s faster. He’s nonetheless massive muscular-wise. I imply, the child is well-built.
“Hopefully we will begin getting him in video games and constructing him up and getting him prepared for the season. However proper now, he labored actually exhausting this offseason and he’s able to go.”
“I centered lots on slicing weight, muscle weight this 12 months,” Robles stated by way of interpreter Octavio Martinez within the outfielder’s first press availability of the spring on Friday.
“And attending to camp slightly more agile and slightly bit quicker, with my vastus muscular tissues, and thank God that I labored out exhausting this offseason.
“I used to be capable of drop weight and really feel lots faster this 12 months.”
Did he suppose, like Martinez and others like GM Mike Rizzo stated, that the burden he added final 12 months was detrimental to his sport on the plate and within the outfield?
“That’s a part of it,” he stated. “I felt prefer it was slightly an excessive amount of weight. I’ve by no means been used to carrying that a lot weight earlier than, and I felt like I couldn’t transfer as effectively, and I centered on slicing my weight down this 12 months and having the ability to be more mobile and more agile and to this point it’s labored out.”
“The additional little weight I used to be carrying presumably affected my play slightly bit,” Robles admitted.
“I nonetheless felt I had the flexibility that I’ve all the time had, however I did discover a distinction due to the additional weight I had on my physique, however thank God, proper now, I really feel nice and I’m planning on having an enormous 12 months.”
“He got here again this 12 months, he’s slimmer however he’s hitting the ball very well,” Martinez stated.
“What I like is that he appears to be like agile. I’m watching him run round within the outfield, going to get balls.
“His first step is lots higher now than it was final 12 months. And he’s shifting round slightly higher.
“I’ve stated this earlier than. There may be a lot upside in Victor and what he can do. Hopefully he feels higher about himself this spring. He appears to be like actually good. And he’s one other man that he is available in, he’s obtained this massive smile on his face on a regular basis. He’s obtained plenty of vitality.”
Was the smile, and a number of the vitality lacking as he struggled on either side of the sport final summer season?
“On the finish, he didn’t hit like he needed to hit, so I feel for him he was slightly disillusioned,” Martinez stated. “However I advised him, ‘Hey, you’re younger, you’re studying, let’s use this as a studying curve, and transfer ahead.’ And I advised him all winter, I feel 2021 goes to be an enormous 12 months for you. So come to Spring Coaching prepared, and like I stated, slim down slightly bit, and let’s get you again in your ft the place we all know you’re actually good, and we’ll go from there.”
Having labored on his velocity and agility all winter, what’s Robles’s focus this spring?
“I actually wish to enhance on my baserunning,” he stated.
“I do know that I obtained the velocity for it, I simply want to enhance slightly bit more with being slightly bit smarter on the basepaths and that’s what I’m going to deal with.”