Any worry that the Washington Nationals may not have enough offensive pop coming from its young outfield will have to wait to see if anything changes with the dawn of the regular season just over two weeks from today.
But as things stand right now, Michael A. Taylor, Victor Robles, and Juan Soto are feasting on opposing pitchers in Spring Training. Their older statesman, Adam Eaton – who is only 30 – is raking baseballs too.
The four of them are hitting for a combined .352 batting average, coming out of 31 hits in 88 at bats. They have scored 17 runs and 19 RBIs, including three home runs.
Taylor leads the way in terms of batting average hitting for .409, with four runs and four RBIs. The expectation is that Taylor may be the Nationals fourth outfielder, at least to start the regular season. This expectation assumes that Victor Robles gets the nod to start the regular season on the Major League roster.
And if his performance down in Florida has anything to say about it, he should be on the starting lineup on March 28 against the New York Mets. Robles has hit for .346, with seven runs and five RBIs over 26 at bats.
If there is a player who is well entrenched into his starting position out of this young group it’s Soto. The first runner-up for NL Rookie of the Year in 2018 – Atlanta Braves’ Ronald Acuña Jr. took home the award – is poised to build on an amazing freshman season in Washington and be a menacing presence in the middle of the Nationals order.
The right-throwing, left-hitting outfielder is swinging the bat for .333 in the spring, with one run and six RBIs.
Eaton, the only veteran player in the group, has seen the least action of the four, with only 16 at bats so far in the spring. But he has certainly made those opportunities count, batting for .313, with five runs and four RBIs.
While it is true that spring training and the regular season are completely different monsters, I believe that there are clear indications that the Nationals young outfield, combined with a strong pitching staff, may render Bryce Harper’s departure an old memory very soon.
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