Best Player: OF Victor Robles
Robles, a 20-year-old center fielder, reached the big leagues at age 20 after thriving in his second stint at high Class A Potomac and his first stretch at Double-A Harrisburg. He hit .342 in 139 Double-A at-bats to earn a September callup, and overall he hit .300/.382/.493 with 10 home runs and 27 stolen bases in 114 games.
“I’ve improved a lot on my defense and hitting,” Robles said through an translator. “I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by people who know a lot about both of those things.”
Originally, Robles had been ticketed to play in instructional league and the Arizona Fall League, but that changed when outfielder Brian Goodwin had a setback in his recovery from a groin injury.
Best Pitcher: RHP Erick Fedde
The 24-year-old righthander also reached the major leagues for the first time. The 2014 first-rounder went 4-5, 3.69 with 79 strikeouts in 90 innings between Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse.
Fedde made 13 relief appearances and 16 starts, but his best outings came late in the year upon his return to the rotation. He recorded a 9.39 ERA in 15 innings for the Nationals before going on the disabled list with a right forearm flexor strain. He is expected to compete for a big league rotation spot next season.
Keep An Eye On: OF Daniel Johnson
Johnson, a 22-year-old who can play all three outfield positions, backed up his breakout first half at low Class A Hagerstown by showing he could handle the high Class A Carolina League.
“We’re very proud of the way he went about his business all season, always trying to get better in all phases—and we are confident he has a high ceiling and bright future ahead,” farm director Mark Scialabba said.
A 2016 fifth-rounder from New Mexico State, Johnson hit .298/.356/.505 with 22 home runs, 72 RBIs and 22 stolen bases in 130 games. He hit only one homer in his pro debut last year.
“He continues to improve his plate discipline and is showing the ability to drive the ball to all fields at the next level,” Scialabba said. “Defensively he’s learning how to be a more efficient route-runner and is consistently hitting his target with his plus arm.”