Luis Robert might be the most highly touted Cuban player ever. The Centerfielder from Ciego de Avila debuted with the White Sox in 2020. The 60 game 2020 season was unique for many reasons. It was tough for many players, especially those making their debut. Robert showed many of the tools that have scouts drooling but left people wanting more. Can he unlock this potential in 2021?
I first saw Robert in Havana in 2016 with the Tigres of Ciego de Avila. The Lithe, rangy outfielder was just 17 at the time. He was a nice piece for the Tigers who would win back to back championships in 2015 and 2016. Robert improved exponentially in each season as he grew into his body. In 2016 he was just a teenage Left Fielder figuring the game out. He figured the game out very quickly.
Robert travelled with the Cuban National Team that summer. He was a key part of their tour of the CanAm League. While the squad was here in Ottawa I had up close access. Small sample size alert but Robert didn’t hit the cover off the ball. He did stand out in stature and his obvious youth by comparison to the rest of the roster. This tour put him on the prospect radar and he would leave Cuba within months of this tour.
Robert considered a top prize that winter, signed with the White Sox. He signed under the previous international signing rules. Because of this Luis received a larger bonus than players moving forward. Luis Robert received $26 million. Due to luxury tax penalties the White Sox also paid $24 million in penalties.
Robert’s quick ascent through the minor leagues motivated the White Sox to extend his contract early. The Pale Hose gave Robert the largest extension to a player yet to appear in a Major League game. The 8 year pact guarantees him $50 million and with options could grow to $100 million. This is a risky move but could prove to be a steal if he approaches the projections for him.
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