Luis Robert

From BR Bullpen

Luis Robert Moirant
(La Pantera)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 2", Weight 210 lb.

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Outfielder Luis Robert began playing for Ciego de Avila in the Cuban Serie Nacional at the age of 16 in 2013-14, hitting only .125 in 17 games against much older competition. He had previously starred in Cuba's junior league and had played for the Cuban junior national team. He improved by leaps and bounds over the next three years, however, as his average rose to .244 the next year, .305 in 2015-16 and .401 in 2016-17. All three seasons, he played regularly in the top Cuban circuit, and his other stats also improved along with his batting average: he hit only one homer in 2014-15, then 5 the next year, and 15 to go along with his 400+ average in his final season; his RBIs also increased, from 1 to 12 to 29 to 40. He was leading the Cuban league in both OBP (.526) and slugging (.687) when he defected and established residency in Haiti in early 2017 before moving to the Dominican Republic to train and showcase himself to scouts.

In the summer of 2016, he was a member of the Cuban team that traveled to North America to play a series of games that counted in the standings of the Can-Am Association. He hit .286/.319/.397 in 16 games as the youngest player on the squad. On May 20, 2017, news emerged that he had signed a contract with the Chicago White Sox for a sum approaching $25 million. The White Sox had decided to blow their international signing bonus allocation for two years in order to ink the young prospect, who was still only 19 at the time. he was assigned to the DSL White Sox, where he hit .310 with 3 homers and 14 RBIs in 28 games.

Robert came up as a left fielder in the Cuban league, but he was a center fielder in his youth and is considered likely to play the position as a professional. He was a classic five-tool prospect, and was the best player on the field with just about every team for which he played until he left Cuba, even though he was also usually the youngest player on those teams. Scouts had talked about him as the number 2 international prospect, after Japanese P/DH Shohei Ohtani. He was invited to spring training by the major league White Sox in 2018 and continued to wow observers with his talent, but he also sprained his thumb while sliding into second base in a Grapefruit League game in early March and as a result had to miss ten weeks of action. He played for three teams that season, the GCL White Sox, Kannapolis Intimidators and Winston-Salem Dash, for a total of 50 games, due to the injury. He hit .269, but with no homers and just 17 RBIs.

He made up for lost time in 2019 and was named to the roster of the American League team for the 2019 Futures Game. He hit a combined .328 with 32 homers and 92 RBIs in 122 games while also leading the minor leagues with 36 stolen bases in a season split among the Class A Winston-Salem Dash, the AA Birmingham Barons and the Charlotte Knights of the AAA International League. On September 4th, he was named the USA Today Minor League Player of the Year. On January 2, 2020, before having made his major league debut, he signed a six-year contract extension worth $50 million, including two additional option years that could bring the contract's total value to $88 million. The White Sox had done something similar with Eloy Jimenez a year earlier, and he had gone on to have an outstanding rookie season. He was the White Sox's starting centerfielder in Chicago's first game of the year, on July 24th, going 2-for-4 with a double in a 10-5 loss to the Minnesota Twins. He hit his first career homer two days later off Kenta Maeda of the Twins. He was the American League Rookie of the Month for August, when he hit .298 with 9 homers and 20 RBIs. On the season, he hit .233 with 11 homers and 31 RBIs, scoring 33 runs and stealing 9 bases. He then went 4 for 13 with a homer, 2 runs scored and 2 RBIs as the White Sox lost to the Oakland Athletics in the Wild Card Series. After the season, he was named the winner of the Gold Glove in center field and was also named to the 2020 Topps All-Star Rookie Team, while finishing second behind Kyle Lewis in the voting for the 2020 American League Rookie of the Year Award.

In spring training in 2021, he was sidelined by a severe hip injury, and as a result missed the entire first half of the season, not returning until August 9th. His outfield partner Eloy Jimenez also missed most of that period, but in spite of this, the White Sox surged to a big lead in the AL Central. One thing had changed when he returned, and it was that he was making a lot more contact, lowering his strikeout rate significantly in comparison to his rookie year.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Further Reading[edit]

  • David Adler: "How White Sox star Robert is improving", mlb.com, April 25, 2021. [1]
  • Ben Badler: "Luis Robert agrees to sign with White Sox", Baseball America, May 20, 2017. [2]
  • Steve Gardner: "With 30-30 season, White Sox prospect Luis Robert wins Minor League Player of the Year award", USA Today, September 4, 2019. [3]
  • Michael Guzman: "4 reasons Robert is appointment viewing", mlb.com, August 12, 2021. [4]
  • Matt Kelly: "Here's 1 way Robert is already making history: White Sox star is on pace for biggest whiff rate drop on record", mlb.com, September 18, 2021. [5]
  • Scott Merkin: "Sox top prospect Robert 'a special kid'", mlb.com, October 12, 2017. [6]
  • Scott Merkin: "Renteria full of praise for Sox prospect Robert", mlb.com, December 12, 2017. [7]
  • Scott Merkin: "'Six-tool player' Robert set to build on 2020", mlb.com, February 24, 2021. [8]
  • Scott Merkin: "Robert the 'Kelly Leak' of White Sox outfield", mlb.com, March 5, 2021. [9]
  • Jesse Sanchez: "Better than Cespedes? Cuban phenom wowing scouts: Teen outfielder Luis Robert has emerged as the most intriguing prospect on international market", mlb.com, February 24, 2017. [10]
  • Andrew Simon: "One reason to be bullish on Robert's bat", mlb.com, March 16, 2021. [11]
  • Jesse Yomtov: "White Sox outfielder Eloy Jimenez on phenom Luis Robert: 'The next Mike Trout'", USA Today, January 26, 2020. [12]

Related Sites[edit]