The catch made by Washington Nationals center fielder Victor Robles would have been enough for a slot on the nightly highlight shows. His ensuing throw back to the infield made it one of the plays of the year.
Philadelphia Phillies rookie third baseman Alec Bohm roped a 1-1 pitch with one out in the sixth inning to the warning track in center. Slightly shaded toward the right-center field gap, Robles took a somewhat round-about route to the ball before leaping ahead of the outfield dirt to snag the ball.
Phillies infielder Jean Segura had been on first base and rounded second by the time Robles made his acrobatic catch. Stabilizing without hesitation on the warning track, Robles whipped the ball 288 feet through the air at 85 mph to reach first baseman Asdrubal Cabrera on the fly, doubling off Segura and ending the inning.
“I always try to keep my focus on the game, have the right mindset,” Robles said after the game, per MLB.com. “So I knew we had a runner on first base and in my mind, the whole time, if I was able to make a play, I knew that I was going to turn around and try to make a throw to first base to double him up. When I read the runner, I knew he was off enough for me to make the throw, and that’s exactly what I did.”
The play from the 23-year-old impressed his manager, Dave Martinez, who said Robles’ natural instincts make him the elite defender he’s developing into.
“Before the ball’s even hit, he knows the situation and he knows what he wants to do,” Martinez said, per MLB.com. “He figured that ball was deep, going over his head and the guy was going to be around the base there or get close to the base, so he turned and just fired the ball to first base. That’s something that you really don’t teach. It comes with instinct, and he has that. What a throw, all the way in the air.”
Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.