Tag Archives: Luis Robert

Welcome to the South Side, Robert

It’s almost as if Mother Nature knew it was the day.

After a night of brutal rain that postponed the first game of a doubleheader and caused a delay of the second on Friday evening, the sun shined brightly on a clear, warm morning at Guaranteed Rate Field.

With his family and new teammate Jose Abreu, Luis Robert stepped off the top step of the dugout onto the foul territory he will eventually call home to a flurry of camera flashes and reporters, eager to get a glimpse of the newest addition to the White Sox’s increasingly bright future. Robert couldn’t have asked for a better welcoming.

The White Sox officially announced Saturday morning that 19 year-old Cuban hype-machine was officially signed to a minor league contract with a signing bonus of $26 million.

“Today’s an important day for the organization and one that marks another step forward in this process we began over a year ago,” Hahn said during a press conference to announce the signing. “In adding Luis to our organization we feel we’ve added another dynamic, potential talent to our organization.”

Indeed, they have. Robert will arguably rank as the third best prospect in the White Sox’s system, hitting .312/.402/.467 with 29 stolen bases and 82 walks during his final season with Ciego de Avila. Though Major League Baseball is an entirely different level of play, Robert possesses the raw tools and room for growth for those skills to successfully transfer to the majors in the coming seasons.

Questions were raised about the level of concern the organization has regarding the fact that Robert has not played competitive baseball in 11 months as he has been preparing for team workouts. What we must remember is, regardless of that fact, Robert is still only 19-years-old and has a long developmental path ahead of him.

“There’s still a fair amount of development for this player,” Hahn said. “This will take some time here. But with his raw set of materials and what he’s accomplished in international competition and at the highest league in Cuba at a young age, helps reinforce how you project this player to develop,” Hahn continued. “He’s obviously put together extremely well. Projecting too much addition of strength and power is unnecessary given what he already possesses. But if he continues to get stronger that will serve him well, as well.”

As far as where Robert will fit best on the field, the general consensus is still centerfield, but as Hahn has said before, development isn’t always linear. There’s room for Robert to move where the organization thinks he fits best as he progresses.

“He presents all five tools, plus power, plus speed,” Hahn said. “We think he has the ability to remain in centerfield and if for whatever reason he doesn’t wind up in the big leagues at centerfield, he certainly has enough offensive prowess to contribute strongly on either corner. It’s a rare opportunity to get a guy with this potential level of impact into the organization at only the expense of cash.”

Robert was as enthusiastic as a young player beginning his career in the majors should be on Saturday. He attributed his reasoning for choosing the South side to many things, including his Cuban heritage. Robert said that he was proud to don the same jersey as the late, great Minnie Minoso and current Cuban star Jose Abreu. “The White Sox tradition for Cuban players was something that motivated me to sign with this team. It’s something that made me feel comfortable,” he said. “I feel proud because those players were examples for us in Cuba. For me now to be here wearing the same uniform as them is a huge honor for me.”

Robert also took note of how interested the White Sox were in him, stating that they were the organization that scouted him the most. “I picked the Chicago White Sox because it was the team that scouted me most,” Robert said. “The video helps a lot but the thing that made me make a decision was who was the team that showed more interest. That was something that made me feel good.”

Robert also put to rest the lingering confusion about how to correctly pronounce his name. “In Cuba [people] call me more like ‘Robber.’ Outside people call me ‘Robert’ with the “T” but in Cuba it’s ‘Robber,'” he said. When asked what we should call him in America, he responded “Robber.”

So, what’s next for Robert? He will leave Chicago for the Dominican Republic, where he will get his feet wet again in the Dominican Summer League. He’ll also have to get to his shopping list, which includes buying three houses; “As for what can I buy first: a house for my family, a house for my uncle and also a house for me,” Robert said.

As far as White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn goes, it was a happy ending to a stressful week. “I think it was very similar to with Abreu,” Hahn said of his anxiety about landing Robert. “I don’t know if we’ve ever said we’re getting a guy no matter what, but we were prepared to be aggressive here and were comfortable up to the $26 million bonus we gave plus the similar amount in taxed that we wound up paying as a result of the deal.”

Hahn gave many other members of the White Sox organization credit for helping make this day possible, including Director of International Scouting, Marco Paddy. “Marco personally was willing to suffer the penalties that it has on his world for the betterment of the organization. Marco’s evaluation and presence and willingness to sacrifice potential future signings for this reinforced the notion that this was the right move to make.”

Rest well, South siders. We have more than just an Instagram photo now. We have ink.

Luis Robert and the White Sox Make It Official

News White Sox fans knew was coming for the better part of a week was made official by the White Sox on Saturday morning. They announced the signing of Cuban OF prospect Luis Robert and, in so doing, put another tentpole in the ground for the continual construction of their minor-league pipeline.

Robert, who will be ranked somewhere in the 20-30 range of the top 100 prospects in baseball, won’t make an immediate impact in the states, however. GM Rick Hahn told reporters today that Robert will start his White Sox career in the Dominican Summer League; Robert currently lives in the Dominican Republic.  The reasons for starting Robert in the DSL are multi-fold (and include a tax break) but they center on his not having played competitive baseball since last July due to the immigration process.

The connection the White Sox organization was able to create with Robert–through coaches, players and front office members–seemingly played a giant role in his closing to play on the South Side. Prior to Game One of Saturday’s double header, Robert threw out the first pitch. Behind home plate was Jose Abreu, Cuban Legend.

The Sox Cuban ties are deep. From Minnie Minoso to Abreu, the Sox have a tangible past to work with. Plus, manager Ricky Renteria is bilingual and featured prominently in a recruiting video that was used to pitch Robert.

WLS’s Catherine Garcia will have more on the day–including comments from Robert–in her piece this week. As always, you can check out the White Sox Weekly podcast on WLSAM.com. Rick Hahn’s opening statement about the signing are on the show.

White Sox Weekly (05-27-2017) Part 1

Connor McKnight hosts a brief Part 1 of White Sox Weekly before today’s double header against the Detroit Tigers. Connor talks call ups and signings, as well as playing GM Rick Hahn’s opening statements of the Luis Robert press conference. Part 2 of White Sox Weekly can be heard live tomorrow (5-27-2017) starting at 11 AM, ending just before the White Sox Pregame show here on WLS AM 890.

What To Know About Luis Robert

By Cat Garcia @TheBaseballGirl

“It’s gotta fit for the long term,” White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn told the media in Seattle over the weekend.

These are words that White Sox fans who have seen the comings and goings of patchwork-type players the past few seasons have longed to hear from this organization’s leader.

These days, the White Sox have arguably been on the forefront of the many rebuilding teams in baseball. But as of Saturday, the word “arguably” can easily be taken out of the discussion. As the mania that was the Luis Robert sweepstakes began this past Saturday, the first day the Cuban prospect was eligible to sign, the White Sox quieted rumors that they were simply “in the mix” for Robert, quickly by snatching up the 19-year-old just half a day into his signing eligibility period. Now, suddenly, the White Sox rebuild is being taken even more seriously than before. Quickly signing Robert was the final move they needed to make to prove to baseball that they’re all in.

With everything happening so fast, however, some folks are left with questions about the young Cuban who will cost the White Sox around $50 million when all is said and done. Let’s take a look at who exactly the White Sox are getting and what it means for the organization now, as well as in the future.

How did the White Sox land Robert?

Robert was a hot commodity from the start. Not only do we know this based on the pure projections of what Robert will become, but also because one of the teams in the top bidding spots with the White Sox was reportedly the St. Louis Cardinals—an organization that could be referred to as the most powerful franchise in National League baseball.

Having a total of 17 Cuban players in franchise history, including the late Minnie Minoso, the White Sox have appealed to those coming to the major leagues. The White Sox reportedly made a pitch to Robert that included words from fellow countryman Jose Abreu, Spanish-speaking manager Rick Renteria, and number one prospect and former teammate of Robert’s, Yoan Moncada. The ability to feel not only comfortable in your clubhouse environment, but also welcomed with open arms is invaluable to the decision making process for a player and the White Sox certainly catered to that when it came to pitching Robert.

The inner workings of international signings can be tricky, though, and when a club exceeds their spending limit they are subject to fines. Though both the White Sox and the Cardinals would have been over their IFA spending limit and subject to fines, the White Sox had a bit more leeway in terms of how much extra they would have had to pay to acquire Robert than the Cardinals did, likely giving the White Sox a bit more of the upper hand in the deal.

What does this mean for the organization’s future?

The White Sox now have the two highest IFA bonus recipients (under the current rules) in the MLB in Moncada, the highest, and Robert. The days of exorbitant spending on international prospects came to a close with Robert as the market under the new CBA will have a hard cap on teams international spending. But, looking forward for this organization, Robert will likely rank as the number-three prospect in the organization behind Moncada and hard-throwing Michael Kopech. Adding Robert now solidifies the strength of the White Sox system, as well as gives them a bit more flexibility in terms of pieces they’re looking to trade at the trade deadline or in future offseasons. With their new, strong system in place, the prices likely just went up on trade candidates such as David Robertson and Jose Quintana, meaning that the White Sox will now be able to maximize the return that they’ll receive for these players as well as give them the ability to say no to certain offers. Stashing prospects and helping their developmental path under the spotlight the White Sox organization is currently under helps makes many of the young prospects they have stashed away strong trade bait for when they do need a plug and play option at the major league level. The acquisition of Robert has filled in the circle for this organization, and did so in more ways than one.

Where does Robert profile best?

Robert’s physical profile is comparable to Moncada’s. Moncada is 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, while Robert is 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds. Their tools are a bit different, however. Moncada profiles mainly as a raw power hitter while Robert is known for his contact ability and plus speed. It’s been noted that Robert is likely to be able to develop plus power, and right now has some strikeout issues—something Moncada deals with as well. What must be kept in mind with Robert is that he is still young, likely to change physically and fill out more, and will be able to hone his skills during his minor-league development. Robert man not see big league time until he is 22 years-old, in the 2020 season, which gives him plenty of time to get rounded out. The biggest plus for Robert is his speed, which has only improved, and though his arm is not particularly strong, he profiles well as a centerfielder due to his sheer ability to cover ground in the outfield. According to MLB Pipeline, Robert is ranging 50 to 55 on the 20-80 scale in his hit, arm, and fielding tools, making him average to slightly above average in those areas. MLB Pipeline has put a 60 on his power—the same as Moncada—and a 70, which is considered well above average, on his speed.

The future is bright for the White Sox, and though many Sox fans have felt that way before, this time the organization is investing in their distant future, and shaping it themselves, rather than trying to puzzle-piece or “patchwork” together teams that seem as though they should make contenders on paper, but fail to transfer on the field. With the right blend of young players that display different strengths, a strong minor league system rich with pitching prospects, two of the best young Cuban players in their system, and a fresh new leader in the dugout in Rick Renteria, things are looking a bit more solid in terms of the future on the South Side. And they’re only likely to get better.