LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Rick Renteria referred to outfielder Luis Robert as "a pretty impressive specimen" after watching him for four games during the Dominican Instructional League at the White Sox Academy in November.That comment represented only beginning praise from the White Sox manager for the center fielder currently
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Rick Renteria referred to outfielder Luis Robert as "a pretty impressive specimen" after watching him for four games during the Dominican Instructional League at the White Sox Academy in November.
That comment represented only beginning praise from the White Sox manager for the center fielder currently ranked as the White Sox No. 3 prospect and No. 23 overall by MLBPipeline.com.
"This kid can fly," said Renteria, speaking Tuesday from the Winter Meetings. "I saw him run down to first. I think it was like 3.56 [seconds] after a full swing on a ground ball.
"He ran down a ball in center, right-center field effortlessly. He hit a ball against the wind and a gust in the center, left-center field that I thought had no chance and it ended up going over the trees. We have a lot of young men in the organization right now that are starting to grow up and come into their own both physically and emotionally. We're moving in the right direction."
More will be known about Robert, 20, when he plays for Class A Kannapolis or Winston-Salem in the United States in 2018. But the Cuban native who received a $26 million signing bonus when joining the White Sox on May 27 already has exhibited maturity beyond his years during his '17 White Sox debut.
"From what I can gather, he's quiet and very attentive to everything that you're conversing about. Has a way of being a part of the rest of the group that were there," Renteria said. "Right now it's just a matter of getting himself to the States, starting to play against other competition, starting to get a feel for what's going on here, the level of play that he's going to be hopefully participating in this coming summer, and see where he can chip away at what he needs to improve upon.
"He's still a very young player. I'm sure there are a lot of aspects of his game that he's going to have to improve upon. So once he gets here we'll see and decipher, and I'm sure we'll have a plan as to how we want to check off certain boxes for him and what he needs to do to continue to move forward."
Hahn talks Winter Meetings talks
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn spoked of interesting ideas bandied about with other teams Tuesday and stressed how the team doesn't want to discourage any conversation on that front.
"We don't want to cut off anything because you never know where it might lead," Hahn said. "It can lead to a quick, 'No, that doesn't make sense,' or it may lead to, 'Well, look, if you're looking for this type of player, what about this other type of player instead.' We encourage conversation and sometimes when you do that some pretty wacky or unexpected ideas get thrown at you. Certainly this week has been no exception."
As for the possibility of a key clubhouse and on-field figure such as Jose Abreu being traded, Renteria was not in a speculating mood.
"[Abreu] is a White Sox until otherwise stated," Renteria said. "[Abreu] is our first baseman."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.