Victor Robles gives Nationals a glimpse into the future

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Nationals saw into the future on Thursday night, and it took only 11 seconds.

In the bottom of the fourth inning of Washington's 5-2 win over the Atlanta Braves, top prospect Victor Robles smacked a liner to right-center field that had double written all over it -- except that Robles turned it into an easy triple by tearing three-quarters of the way around the bases in exactly 11.12 seconds.

It was a blur, sir.

Besides driving in Adam Lind from first base, the three-bagger put an undeniable charge into the crowd of 25,000-plus at Nationals Park, who were treated to the fastest home-to-third time of any Washington player in the Statcast era. For the record, that includes lightning-fast leadoff man Trea Turner, who has 14 triples during said era.

As if that weren't enough, in the bottom of the sixth with one down and Lind on first again, Robles hit a slow roller toward third that Atlanta's Johan Camargo charged, scooped up, then promptly airmailed over the head of first baseman Freddie Freeman. Both Lind and Robles advanced an extra base on the error, then scored on a double by the next Nats hitter, Adrian Sanchez.

Not that Robles wouldn’t have scored from first anyway. Heck, the way he runs, he probably could've scored from first on a bunt.

Believe it or not, Robles' 11.12-second dash ranks as just the 32nd-fastest home-to-third time this season (odds are that top 32 includes a bunch of triples by Byron Buxton and Billy Hamilton).

It's practically the only list on which Robles isn't at or near No. 1.

The 20-year-old outfielder is at the top of the Nationals' prospect list after hitting .300 at two minor league levels, including .324 with 11 steals in 37 games after being promoted to Double-A Harrisburg. He was also atop everyone's wish list back in July when the trade deadline was looming.

"You see why everybody wanted to trade for him and you see why we didn't give him up and include him in any of those trades," said manager Dusty Baker of Robles, who was among the top 10 prospects in Baseball America's midseason rankings. "He can be an impact player."

Whether Robles impacts the 2017 postseason remains to be seen. When he was first called up a week ago, he seemed like a long shot at best to crack the playoff roster. But his performance in limited duty (3-for-9 with two extra-base hits and no whiffs) has raised eyebrows on a Washington club whose outfield has been decimated by injuries.

"He's good," said starter Tanner Roark, who picked up the win on Thursday. "He doesn't strike out a lot. He puts the bat on the ball. He puts pressure on the defense whenever he hits a ground ball because he's fast. He's lightning-fast. He's been big for us so far."