Chicago White Sox: The Case For a Luis Robert September Call Up

Joshua Finkelstein
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Luis Robert
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Luis Robert /
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The Chicago White Sox have a budding star at Triple-A Charlotte in Luis Robert. Fans should get a chance to see him before the end of the 2019 season. 

The Chicago White Sox have some major decisions to make over the next week or so as they decide on who will and who won’t be among their September callups, which requires the team to add any player they choose to be added to the 40-man roster by September 1.

One of their toughest decisions will be whether or not the team should call up the fifth-best prospect in all of baseball according to MLB Pipeline, Luis Robert.

While I think every Chicago White Sox fan would love to see him this season, GM Rick Hahn believes there are a lot of things that need to be taken into consideration as detailed by Scott Merkin of MLB.com.

"“It’s not about self-interest or self-preservation or to make anyone individually look good,” Hahn said. “It’s about what’s best for the long-term health of the organization.“Again, there’s a lot that goes into deciding it. At the end of the day, player development is fundamentally a baseball decision about putting a player in the best position to succeed, and that’s what will carry the day with any decision to promote a player.”"

So, the good news for fans is that the organization at least appears to be considering calling up the team’s top prospect, but the bad news is that is far from a commitment to doing so.

The team in my opinion, though, would be wise to call up Robert.

For starters, the 22-year-old has been phenomenal in the minors this season, hitting .333/.384/.629 with 29 homers, 30 doubles, 10 triples, and 86 RBI across three levels (High-A Winston-Salem, Double-A Birmingham, and Triple-A Charlotte).

Most importantly, is that he is producing at the White Sox highest affiliate, with a .302/.354/.648 slash line for the Charlotte Knights to go along with 13 home runs, nine doubles, four triples, and 33 RBI in 37 games.

While many prospects play many more games at the Triple-A level before a promotion to the bigs, some have played very minimally there such as Kyle Schwarber who only played 17 games at Triple-A before getting the call to the majors in 2015, one year after he was drafted.

Former White Sox ace Chris Sale spent a mere 11 games in all of the minors combined before getting called up in 2010.

So, yes, while the argument that Robert hasn’t played many games at the Triple-A level is a valid one, it is not necessarily a vital component to one’s ability to have a successful MLB career.

It also is important to honor someone’s accomplishments, in both sports and life general; calling him up to the majors would provide that reward. That would also avoid any doubts in his mind about why he was not added to the roster despite his strong play.

Furthermore, the White Sox are in a very critical point in their franchise’s history as they are on the cusp of becoming a force-to-be-reckoned-with in baseball given the strength of their farm system and some of their young talent already on the big league roster such as Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada, and Lucas Giolito.

The team is likely going to look to make some big moves this offseason, hoping to expedite the rebuild process so that when their young stars are fully developed, they can vault to the top of the AL Central and MLB as a whole rapidly.

Therefore, it would make sense to find out how Robert can adjust to the major league level this September in order to determine whether the team will need to sign an outfielder in the offseason if he is not ready to produce right away next season or if that is something they can cross of their to-do list.

However, the White Sox could hold off on a Robert promotion this year and simply wait for about 20 games into the 2020 season to call him up, as a means to gain an extra year of service time on the outfielder which is a strategy many teams have taken up.

That decision could force the team to something they don’t need to in the offseason, though, which could make them not sign someone who can have long-term positive impacts on the franchise, rather making them sign a fall-back outfielder for 2020 in case Robert isn’t ready.

At least calling him up in about a week would give the White Sox a chance to evaluate him for a month and then make a determination. It would basically be a way of taking inventory of the organization in order to properly address their holes on the roster this offseason.

If the team is really worried about the service time, though, they could always extend him as the Philadelphia Phillies did with Scott Kingery when they first called him up in 2018, giving him a six-year, $24 million contract with three club options (details courtesy of Spotrac).

Now, that is something you only do if you are very confident in the outfielder being a very good player, as it only looks like a bargain if it works out.

Given his ranking as the fifth-best prospect in all of baseball, though, there’s no reason to believe that type of contract wouldn’t be a bargain in the end and it would help gain even more team control of him going forward.

Lastly, the fact is that a call up of Robert would be very exciting for the fans, which are the ones who come out to the ballpark and give the team money every single night.

Baseball is a business and the fact is that calling up Robert would fill up Guaranteed Rate Field more than anything else would right now. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see this:

Regardless of whether or not Robert gets added to the roster by September 1 or not remains to be seen, but either way White Sox fans have many reasons to be excited about this player’s ability to become a star in the league.

Next. Yoan Moncada Comes Back With a Bang. dark

Robert has played so well, though, and the Chicago White Sox really should reward him with a September call up as it possibly could benefit both him and the organization significantly.

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