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Nationals Outfield: Best Outfield In Major League Baseball?

Nats Outfield
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Outfields are made up of a trio of players. The Dodgers have AJ Pollock, Mookie Betts, and Cody Bellinger. The Braves have Marcell Ozuna, Cristian Pache, and Ronald Acuna Jr.  A new trio has arrived in Washington with Kyle Schwarber, Victor Robles, and Juan Soto. The Nationals outfield may just be the best in Major League Baseball.  

Left Field: Kyle Schwarber FanGraphs +2.0 WAR

The newest National of this trio was added in free agency this offseason. Schwarber’s 2020 was abysmal, which is probably why the Nats were able to add him for only 7 million this year. In 59 games, Schwarber slashed .188/.308/.393, and amassed an OPS+ of only 91. 2020 was a strange year though and Schwarber seems to be clicking well with Nats’ hitting coach Kevin Long.

Routine is everything for baseball players, in a semi-normal season where players can get back on track, and I fully expect Schwarber to return to form. This means hitting 38 homers as in 2019 and having an OPS of .871. Granted I was not a fan of this signing originally, but Schwarber has proved me wrong during Spring Training.

Center Field: Victor Robles FanGraphs +1.7 WAR

Spring Training numbers seldom mean much, but Robles has appeared in 16 games, the majority of them in the leadoff spot. The switch to the leadoff role has improved Robles’ performance. In those 16 games, he’s hit .273/.353/.591, a big increase from his career splits of .250/.320/.407. Robles has also tweaked his swing to create a shorter path to the ball as he looks to improve on 2020s .220/.293/.315 slash line and career-high 28.0 percent strikeout rate.

It was only two seasons ago that Robles was a finalist for the 2019 Gold Glove Award in center field. Last year, he added 15 pounds of muscle, and his defensive assets were impacted. He went from leading all outfielders in outs above average in ‘19 to ranking 23rd in ‘20. Robles spent the offseason working on his speed and athleticism, and the results already have been evident this spring with impressive plays in center field. Look for Robles to compete for a Gold Glove in 2021.

Right Field: Juan Soto  FanGraphs +6.0 WAR

Soto has not had an incredible Spring slashing just .182/.289/.182 in 13 games, there might be cause for concern if he were another player.  Juan Soto is a popular pick to win his league’s Most Valuable Player Award. He finished fifth last year in his third Major League season.

According to ZiPS, Soto is projected to lead all of baseball in RBIs (141) and slash .305/.420/.595 with a 1.015 OPS, 37 homers, and 105 walks. Washington added power around him, as well, to protect his bat in the lineup.

If everything goes well, Schwarber gets in his routine, Robles’ confidence increases with the leadoff spot, and Juan Soto is Juan Soto, then the Nationals will have the best outfield in Major League Baseball.







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