Luis Robert will finish his career as the best player in Chicago White Sox history.
Predicting how a prospect’s career will unfold can be a difficult task. Nothing in baseball is a sure thing but Chicago White Sox center-fielder, Luis Robert, has proved to be the exception in 2020. The sky is the limit for the young center fielder who not only has the chance to be the best player to ever wear a White Sox uniform but the best player in Major League Baseball.
Under normal circumstances, your first season in the MLB can be a challenge, even for great players. Roy Halladay was demoted to the Minor Leagues before turning into a Hall of Fame pitcher. Even Chicago fan favorites Javier Baez and Eloy Jimenez went through growing pains early on before finding their groove in the Majors.
Luis Robert began his career during a pandemic, his spring training was cut short, and every game has taken on an added importance in a 60-game season. He also has an immense amount of pressure on him to perform. He was joining a team that was expected to compete for a playoff spot while being labeled a top prospect in baseball and favored to win rookie of the year. His teammate, Eloy Jimenez, described him as “the next Babe Ruth”. Those are some lofty expectations to put on a 23-year old kid who had yet to see a pitch in the big leagues.
Luis Robert has exceeded expectations. He is currently hitting .298 with 10 home runs and 24 RBI’s. He owns a WAR of 1.7 which is tied for 11th in all of baseball, putting him in the driver’s seat to win rookie of the year.
The kid nicknamed La Pantera takes professional at-bats and unlike most rookies, he does not chase many bad pitches. Robert has also shown the ability to make adjustments at the plate. He covers an absurd amount of ground in center field and leads the team in stolen bases. The White Sox are in the midst of a race for the division title, something they have not captured since 2008, and Robert is leading the charge with some of the most important hits of the season.
On Monday night Luis Robert showcased just how special he is as a player. The rookie went 2-4 with a home run and a clutch hit in the 9th inning to give the White Sox a 6-5 lead against their division rival the Minnesota Twins. This comes after he hit a walk-off home run in a critical game against the Royals a day earlier. He seems unphased by pressure.
Frank Thomas, who owns multiple MVP awards and a plaque in Cooperstown praised Robert on the NBC Sports Chicago pregame show before Monday’s game saying “I mean, honestly, he looks like a young Mike Trout in centerfield that can do everything.”
Frank Thomas is the best player to ever put on a Sox uniform so that is high praise coming from someone that knows a thing or two about success in the big leagues. Robert possesses the same tools as Trout. Power, speed, defense, arm strength, and the ability to hit for average are all tools of his game. The average MLB fan does not get the chance to appreciate Trout’s greatness. He is on a bad team that plays games while most of the country is asleep so that makes it tough.
White Sox fans have the privilege of watching the next Mike Trout wear their colors. Do not take it for granted as special players like them do not come around often. The scary thing for the rest of the MLB is that Robert is only going to get better and will have more protection in his lineup than Trout has had or will have. Good luck opposing pitchers, you’re going to need it for years to come.