Luis Robert Ready To Back Up White Sox's Belief

"I want to be the Rookie of the Year and help the team win a championship," he says.

Bruce Levine
January 28, 2020 - 12:09 pm
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CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- While it's a logical assumption that White Sox top prospect Luis Robert will be manning center field when the team hosts the Royals on Opening Day on March 26, Robert holds a different line of thinking.

"I am ready to do whatever they want me to do, but I am going to prove during spring training that I can do a good job in the major leagues," Robert said. "So we will see."

Robert, 22, signed a long-term contract extension with the White Sox in early January, rendering service time considerations moot and thus paving the way for him to break camp with the team. As he moves forward, Robert also has lofty ambitions from the start.

"I am ready to prove that all the confidence the White Sox have in me is true," Robert said at SoxFest over the weekend. "Every young player wants to prove that, and I want to be the Rookie of the Year and help the team win a championship."

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Robert is the No. 3 prospect in baseball, per MLB Pipeline, and is lauded as a five-tool player. He hit .328 with 32 homers, 92 RBIs, 36 stolen bases and a 1.001 OPS in 122 games across three levels in the minor leagues in 2019. He ended the season at Triple-A Charlotte, where he hit .297 with a .974 OPS. 

While some scouts believe Robert is still raw when it comes to his routes to the ball in center field, he didn't acknowledge such concerns. 

"My defense is very solid," Robert said. "I need to keeping working and improving in everything, but I am ready. My goal is to catch every single ball that goes up in my area."

A native of Cuba, Robert has formed a strong relationship with fellow countryman and White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu. 

"He has already helped me, and I know he will help me on all-around things" Robert said. "On and off the field, he is a guy who can guide me and help make me better just through his experience and the way he goes about his business. He will have an important influence on my life."

Robert believes he can make an instant impact, wherever he may land in the lineup. Manager Rick Renteria has hinted that he could bat his youngsters further down in the order to open the season, but given Robert's talent and speed, there's also some thought that he could serve as a leadoff man for the White Sox down the line. Robert has a .381 on-base percentage across three years in the minor leagues.

"Throughout my career, I have been third in the order or fourth, but I think (the possibility of) hitting leadoff, I have the ability to do a good job," Robert said. "I think I need to improve my bunting. I feel comfortable leading off the lineup if they want me to."

Former Double-A Birmingham manager Omar Vizquel, who coached Robert in 2019, compared the young Robert to a young Ken Griffey Jr. in comments to USA Today several weeks ago. That sentiment of Robert boasting supreme talent is one shared by many in the game.

New White Sox hitting coach Frank Menechino feels that Robert has an unlimited upside as his rookie season approaches.

"When you have a five-tool player like him, you really don't know what the hell he can do," Menechino said. "You have to spend a lot of time with him and watch the ups and downs. You must see what he can and cannot do. I watched him at Triple-A last year out-competing the talent there. I get questions all the time about him, and a lot of times I don't know what to say. We just don't know the ceiling at this point."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.