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Will Robert be September callup for White Sox?

Hahn bases promotions on what's best for player, organization
@scottmerkin
August 22, 2019

CHICAGO -- White Sox general manager Rick Hahn recently saw Luis Robert, ranked as the No. 5 prospect overall in baseball by MLB Pipeline, just miss winning a steak by hitting a home run off the bull in left field for Triple-A Charlotte in Durham, N.C. “I think the ball

CHICAGO -- White Sox general manager Rick Hahn recently saw Luis Robert, ranked as the No. 5 prospect overall in baseball by MLB Pipeline, just miss winning a steak by hitting a home run off the bull in left field for Triple-A Charlotte in Durham, N.C.

“I think the ball was about 30 feet over the bull,” a smiling Hahn said. “So, I think he was happier with that than the free steak.”

Watching Robert in action in person reinforced what Hahn already knew -- the young outfielder is truly an elite talent. As to when Robert will be with the White Sox, that decision has not been finalized.

Hahn actually said none of the September callups or time of the callups had been officially set as of Thursday. Charlotte’s season ends on Sept. 2, but the Knights are in the International League playoff picture. The long-term development of Robert and other top young players such as second baseman Nick Madrigal and catcher Zack Collins, ranked as the Nos. 4 and 10 prospects for the White Sox, ultimately is at the core of the club's decision making process.

“It's not about self-interest or self-preservation or to make anyone individually look good,” Hahn said. “It's about what's best for the long-term health of the organization.

“Again, there's a lot that goes into deciding it. At the end of the day, player development is fundamentally a baseball decision about putting a player in the best position to succeed, and that's what will carry the day with any decision to promote a player.”

Dylan Cease, one of the core rebuild pieces, had made eight starts since coming from Charlotte and debuting with the White Sox on July 3, and Hahn talked about his learning process at the big league level as well as the key side work being done with pitching coach Don Cooper and bullpen coach Curt Hasler. Following that line of logic, Robert would benefit from a month of big league play as his fourth level jump this season -- especially if the White Sox consider themselves potential 2020 postseason contenders.

Hahn wouldn’t address the future contention part on Thursday, deferring that talk more to Spring Training after the team’s offseason moves are set. He added Robert still was learning valuable lessons at Triple-A.

“Even being in the pennant race alone, even what they're doing on a nightly basis, the battle to try to get into the postseason is a benefit to them,” Hahn said. “Eventually you balance that about what they're going to benefit from Chicago versus going through that and make a decision.”

“He's having a terrific season,” White Sox third baseman Yoán Moncada said of Robert, with the two playing together during Moncada’s injury rehab. “He's talented and we're all seeing that. I think he's ready. I think he's ready for this level. But he still needs to do the things that the team wants him to do.”

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.