Both the outfielder and second baseman had phenomenal seasons in 2019.
Robert, 22, spent the season across three levels of the minor leagues, none of which posed much of an issue for him. Overall, he hit .328/.376/.624 with 32 homers, 31 doubles, 92 RBI, and 36 stolen bases.
The center fielder represents the term “five-tool player” at its finest and while acquiring talented players this offseason is very important, they won’t find a player that represents this type of value based on potential talent and contract on the open market.
With that being said, his development into one of the game’s best center fielders is probably as crucial as anything for this team, at least offensively speaking.
Nick Madrigal, also 22, had an almost identically phenomenal season as he climbed up the ladder with Robert in 2019. Across three levels, Madrigal hit .311/.377/.414 with four homers, 27 doubles, 55 RBI, and 35 stolen bases. He did so while striking out a mere 16 times in 532 plate appearances.
With these two players both seemingly on the cusp of major league stardom, they should be treated as major contributors to the 2020 team. That’s pretty clear to the White Sox front office too as detailed by Vinnie Dubar of NBC Sports.
"I don’t know when exactly Luis Robert will arrive come 2020 or when Nick Madrigal will arrive in 2020,” White Sox GM Rick Hahn said. “I would say based upon their seasons, probably have Luis a tick ahead of Nick in terms of projected arrival time. But we’ll see how they show up in camp and how that unfolds.“I think we can sit here and say that — similar to Eloy (Jimenez) a year ago — that we expect Luis Robert to be playing center field for most if not all of the 2020 season. Nick Madrigal playing second base? Probably most of the 2020 season. But let’s wait and see how he comes to camp and what this offseason holds.”"
It’s not surprising that Madrigal is slightly behind Robert in terms of ETA given the second baseman played in only 29 games at Triple-A this past season as compared to Robert who appeared in 47 games for Charlotte.
Madrigal also spent more time in Single-A in 2019, playing 49 games there while Robert was promoted to Double-A Birmingham after only 19 games at the lower level.
While we all want to see the Chicago White Sox make some big moves this offseason, their two biggest additions for the 2020 season could be coming from within.