Luis Robert Learns From Abbreviated Season
Heading into spring training, the White Sox were hoping 21-year-old Cuban outfield prospect Luis Robert would show gradual progress in his first season in the U.S., then take additional steps toward the major leagues in 2019.
That is still the plan, but it has been altered because of injuries.
In a March 7 Cactus League game against the Reds, Robert severely sprained a ligament in his left thumb and was sidelined almost three months.
Robert injured the thumb again in late June during a four-hit game with high Class A Winston-Salem.
Robert missed five weeks with the second thumb ailment, and he was limited to 50 total games with Winston-Salem, low Class A Kannapolis and in the Rookie-level Arizona League on rehab.
To gain needed at-bats and experience, Robert played in the Arizona Fall League.
"I think it's a nice challenge for him, given his age and given his experience so far,” general manager Rick Hahn said. "I look forward to seeing where he’s at next spring, regardless of how the Fall League goes.”
In his first six games with Glendale, Robert held his own while going 7-for-24 (.292) and scoring eight runs.
At 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, Robert has plenty of room to pack on muscle as he matures, and he definitely has power potential.
Hahn is not at all concerned that Robert didn't hit any home runs this season.
"I do think one thing to keep in mind about Luis is, as we see all the time with thumb or wrist or hand injuries, it does take a little time for the power to come back,” Hahn said. "I think we’ve seen that. He’s swinging the bat well, we’ve seen that plus hit tool.
"The power hasn’t quite been there yet this year, but with the two (disabled list) stints for a hand and for a thumb injury, that’s not a shock.”
Seeing more pitches should also help Roberts' power game. In 208 plate appearances in 2018, the righthanded batter struck out 52 times and drew 12 walks.
"I learned a lot of stuff this season that will help me in the future,” Robert said.
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• Righthander Tyler Danish, a second-round pick in 2013 out of high school, declined an outright assignment and elected free agency.