Six position players were on the list, headed by two Dominican outfielders the club has refused to include in trades over the past year. There are two other Dominicans, which serves as a sign of the progress the organization has made in the Latin American market and the money ownership has invested there in recent years.
It all begins, of course, with a certain center fielder…
.282/.368/.477, 43 RBI, 9 HR, 8 3B, 19 SB in 96 games Potomac Nationals and Harrisburg Senators
Robles remains a consensus top 10 prospect among the industry’s rating services. MLB Pipeline, for example, ranked him No. 5 in baseball on its latest list. He garners the acclaim because he’s a five-tool talent playing a premium up-the-middle position. The 20-year-old Dominican began the season with Class A Potomac before moving up to Class AA Harrisburg on July 24. In 19 games with Harrisburg, Robles, who is 4.2 years younger than the average position player in the Eastern League, is batting .257 with a .735 OPS. He had one of his best games Sunday, when he went 2 for 5 with four RBI, though he committed an error in center field.
The Nationals are probably deepest in the outfield, and they have needed that depth this season to absorb significant injuries in the outfield. Washington has used 12 outfielders so far, and Robles is not too far down their overall depth chart. It’ll be interesting to see if he gets an invite to big league camp next spring.
.323/.385/.465, 3 HR, 10 BB, 9 SO, 28 games for GCL Nationals and Hagerstown Suns
Soto’s been called the “Dominican Bryce Harper” for his performance at the plate the past two seasons, but injuries have plagued him in 2017. After a torrid start with Class A Hagerstown, he fractured his ankle on May 2. He was held out of games until July 3 and appeared in five games in the Gulf Coast League before undergoing hamate surgery. He hasn’t played since July 8 but is expected to return this season.
Despite the missed time, Soto has drawn rave reviews for his smooth stroke, pitch recognition skills and consistent ability to barrel the baseball
.325/.393/.556, 29 RBI, 7 HR, 14 2B in 42 games for GCL, Auburn Doubledays and Hagerstown
Kieboom also was shelved for substantial time this season, missing more than two months with a hamstring injury. But the 2016 first-round pick has been playing every day since returning July 28. He appeared in six games in the GCL before getting called up to short-season Auburn.
He’s hitting .300 with a .853 OPS in 10 games — all but two at shortstop — since returning after slashing .333/.398/.586 with six home runs in 29 games for Hagerstown before the injury.
.261/.293/.324, 1 HR, 8 SB in 36 games for GCL
Signed out of the Dominican Republic for $1.3 million last July, the 17-year-old Garcia is finishing up his first year in first-season ball in the GCL. Garcia signed as a shortstop, but most teenage prospects sign as a shortstop, catcher or pitcher. The son of a former major league pitcher, the left-handed hitter has started 19 games at second base and 10 at shortstop.
.288/.347/.414, 2 HR, 10 2B, 6 3B in 58 games for Potomac
Another promising talent whose 2017 has been marred by injuries, Gutierrez signed as a shortstop in 2013 but was moved to third base the next year and has settled in there over the last three season. The 22-year-old Dominican was batting .288 with a .761 OPS in 58 games when he suffered an ankle injury in early June. He hasn’t played since.
.303/.360/.521, 64 RBI, 20 HR, 22 2B, 17 SB in 108 games for Hagerstown and Potomac
A fifth-round pick in 2016, Johnson burst onto the scene this season, his first full year as a professional out of New Mexico State. A toolsy center fielder with elite speed and arm strength, the 22-year-old Johnson has exceeded expectations at the plate this season. He was batting .300 with an .890 OPS and 17 home runs with Hagerstown before he was promoted to Potomac. Entering Monday, he was slashing .314/.359/.488 in 20 games at the new level.