GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After battling injuries in his first two pro seasons, Luis Robert came to the Arizona Fall League to make up for lost at-bats. Then the White Sox center fielder strained a hamstring running to first base in his fourth game for the Glendale Desert Dogs, costing him
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After battling injuries in his first two pro seasons, Luis Robert came to the Arizona Fall League to make up for lost at-bats. Then the White Sox center fielder strained a hamstring running to first base in his fourth game for the Glendale Desert Dogs, costing him nine more days.
Since returning, Robert has been one of the Fall League's hottest hitters. He has batted .354/.404/.521 since his return, including a .400/.429/.600 stretch from Nov. 5-10 to claim the AFL's Player of the Week award.
"I feel very proud to win Player of the Week," Robert said through an interpreter, Yankees outfielder Estevan Florial. "I've been working hard through the week and through the season."
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Robert is batting .338/.386/.462 overall with two homers and three steals in 16 games. He's tied for the league lead with 18 runs and hit safely in his first 14 games, the longest streak in the Fall League this year, before going 0-for-4 in each of his last two contests.
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That's the type of production the White Sox were hoping for when they signed the Cuban defector for $26 million in May 2017. Not only is that the second-largest bonus ever for an amateur, trailing only the $31 million the Red Sox lavished on Yoan Moncada, but Chicago also paid another $26 million as a penalty for exceeding its international spending allotment.
Robert played in just 28 games in his 2017 pro debut because of minor knee and ankle ailments, then damaged ligaments in his left thumb on a slide during Spring Training, sidelining him for three months. He aggravated his thumb injury shortly after returning and played in just 50 games during the regular season, batting .269/.333/.360 with 15 steals.
Ranked No. 44 on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list, Robert has the tools to become a 20-20 player and man any of the three outfield spots. His primary goal for the AFL was to refine his right-handed swing, in particular trying to keep his bat in the hitting zone for a longer period of time.
"I had been working on it before and I've been working on it here too," Robert said. "I think I'm getting better at it. I've been working mostly on that here. This league is going to help me a lot because I didn't play a lot this season."
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.