Pipeline Podcast: What to expect from Luis Robert

February 16th, 2018

The following is an excerpt from this week's Pipeline Podcast, in which Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis are joined by Jordan Shusterman and Jake Mintz of Cespedes Family BBQ. To listen to the show in its entirety, visit the MLB Pipeline Podcast page.

Mintz: Alright so we have one final guy we want to ask about before we wrap things up. This is also one of the most intriguing and mysterious, I would say, prospects that we've had in recent memory.

Shusterman: So mysterious in fact that I may have pronounced his name wrong. .

Callis: Well we're going with Robber officially. I've heard it so many different ways. He's not French, so I've ruled out Ro-bear, although that was what his initial pronunciation appeared to be. But I think it's Robber as in like bank robber. We need Chris Berman to give him a kitschy nickname and then we can determine the pronunciation from there.

Shusterman: We've been calling him Lou Bob.

Callis: I like it.

Mintz: I think we're going to stick with it. That simplifies things. But as a prospect, this is one of the most -- obviously we've seen plenty of awesomely talented Cubans come over, but this guy is one of the last guys to get the big money before the new rules kicked in. And he showed up, he hasn't played stateside yet, but he's here now in big league Spring Training. And he just could be -- like now we had him in the Top 30 on the Pipeline Top 100. He's got all kinds of crazy tools. Where do you think he starts this year, and is this a guy that you assume would maybe take some time to adjust to stateside baseball? Or could he just put it all together immediately and show up and be a top-10 prospect and in the big leagues in 2019? Jonathan, what do you think?

Mayo: I could see him being a top-10 prospect by next year for certain and start moving quickly. I know he hasn't played here yet, but he's not 17. I don't know what the White Sox plans are, but I would probably send him to Winston-Salem in the Carolina League. Let him skip over Kannapolis, and if you want to give him a month in Low-A just to get his feet under him, I don't think that would be a problem either.

You have to always remind yourself that there's a human element of the transition to playing a full season and playing in the United States. I don't care how talented you are. I think the talent is going to move him up their system fairly quickly. If you told me that he will finish this year in Double-A, I could believe it. We have an ETA for him of 2020, and I think that could be erring on the side of conservative, which is fine. I think it's extremely possible. I could see him -- given his toolset and showing an advanced feel to hit and things of that nature -- just getting started that he could move pretty quickly.

Callis: I'm going to disagree with you slightly just for the one thing. I would definitely send him to Low-A because he struck out at about a 23 percent clip in the Dominican Summer League, which is a step above high school baseball. If there's a knock on him as a prospect when he was an amateur, there's a little concern about the hitting ability and the swing-and-miss. I would let him go to Low Class-A. Also while he's trying to adjust to the U.S., which is often a huge adjustment for these Cubans to get a bunch of money, sometimes the off-the-field stuff is difficult too. I would just let him go to the Sally League and let him tear it up for half a season, and then you can promote him to High-A. And if you wanted to expedite his development, you could send him to the Fall League after the season too and then let him take off. I would probably be a little bit more cautious at the beginning, but I'm with you 100 percent in terms of his upside. This guy has a chance to be special. I mean he's essentially, if you took and put him in the outfield, and you only let him hit right-handed, he'd look a lot like Luis Robert -- or Lou Bob, which I also think is the best way to call him.

Mintz: Yes. Lou Bob. We've got to get that name.

Mayo: We're going to start using that regularly here on the podcast when we start talking about him. So, guys, thank you for that.