Cuban phenom Luis Robert, third in the White Sox Top 30, has shown signs of elite potential, despite working through multiple injuries.
In 2017, 19-year-old Cuban phenom Luis Robert left his home island and declared himself a free agent, making him eligible to be signed by a major league team.
A few teams were involved in the process of signing Robert, but the Cardinals and the White Sox were figured to be his favorite. It was revealed where he would sign when he changed his profile picture to him at the batting cages with a White Sox hat. It was officially announced, however, when Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com tweeted the details of the deal.
Signing Robert pushed the White Sox their international bonus pool limit. Because they exceeded the amount by signing him to $26 million, the organization will actually have to pay between $50-60 million due to the luxury and overage tax.
More from White Sox News
- The Chicago White Sox might have had a season ending loss
- The Chicago White Sox are expecting Tim Anderson back soon
- Miguel Cairo’s words spark life into the Chicago White Sox
- Dylan Cease should be the favorite for the AL Cy Young Award
- Ozzie Guillen speaks the whole truth about Tony La Russa
Despite the many of millions of dollars the team will have to pay, the organization believes it is a risk worth taking. In 2016, Robert was considered to be the second best international prospect. Only second behind Shohei Otani.
After the Chris Sale and Adam Eaton trades, adding Robert helped soothe the minds of the agitated Sox fan. In his last year in Cuba, he recorded a .401/.526/.687 slash. He hit 12 home runs driving in 40 in 53 games. He also recorded an OPS of 1.213 and swiped 11 bases.
Ranked third in the White Sox Top 30 prospect list, in the MLB Top 100 he’s ranked 25th, Robert has been held to high expectations. Coming into the league, many considered him to be the Yoan Moncada of the outfield for the Sox. Fast, above-average raw power with an above-average arm. Unfortunately, that is not where the similarities end.
In 50 games among three different teams this past season in the White Sox organization, Robert finished with a .269/.333/.360 slash and drove in 17 runs. He struck out 52 times and did not hit a home run. However, he did hit a grand slam during Spring Training.
Fortunately, there is something that sets the Robert and Moncada apart: Robert’s ability to take walks. In his last season with Cuba, he walked 38 times while only striking out 30 times in 53 games.
The numbers are not pretty, but we did not see enough of Robert in 2018. His season took an abrupt halt in the middle of a hot streak. In July, it was reported that he sprained a ligament in his left thumb. At the time, he was hitting .293.
As seen in his numbers he finished with, the injury was a major setback for Robert. Along with the comparisons to Moncada, many began to be concerned. Moncada was not hitting well in the majors and was striking out at a record pace. When Robert came back from his thumb injury, he just did not seem like the same player.
But Sox fans need not to worry. If any White Sox prospect can come back from an injury, it is Robert.
He missed much of his 2017 season with minor knee and ankle injuries. But Robert was able to recover from the injuries and finish with 15 stolen bases this year, displaying that an injury is just a hiccup for him as he can come back stronger.
Robert is expected to make his major league debut in 2020, the first year the White Sox are expected to be legitimate contenders. He has the potential to be a possible Rookie of the Year candidate, but he may have to beat out his own teammate Michael Kopech. The year 2020 should be fun on the South Side.