Six-tool player. Indescribable talent. Mike Trout-type talents. Those are just some of the words used to describe Chicago White Sox outfielder Luis Robert this year in Spring Training. As the talented 23-year-old slugger now prepares for his second season in the majors in 2021, fans of the Charlotte Knights will
Six-tool player. Indescribable talent. Mike Trout-type talents. Those are just some of the words used to describe Chicago White Sox outfielder Luis Robert this year in Spring Training. As the talented 23-year-old slugger now prepares for his second season in the majors in 2021, fans of the Charlotte Knights will never forget his amazing 2019 season in the Queen City.
After a promotion from Double-A Birmingham on July 9, 2019, Robert made his much anticipated Triple-A debut in Uptown Charlotte two days later (Thursday, July 11, 2019). That night, the talented Cuban native posted an impressive line -- 3-for-5 with two runs scored, two home runs, and seven RBIs. One of his home runs that evening was a grand slam, which was his first career Triple-A hit. His solid offensive showing in front of the Queen City crowd helped lead the Knights to an impressive 15-12 win over the Gwinnett Stripers that night. That was just the start of something very special.
In 47 games with the Knights in 2019, Robert hit .297 (60-for-202) with 44 runs scored, 10 doubles, five triples, 16 home runs, 39 RBIs, and seven stolen bases. He had one four-hit game (8/13 vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre) and 18 multi-hit games. He also had three multi-homer games and 10 multi-RBI games. Impressive numbers for the young phenom. His talent brought more eyes on the Knights that season. Fans from all across the country – including those in Chicago – couldn’t wait to see what Robert would do next. He quickly proved that his future in the game of baseball was a bright one.
Overall between three levels in 2019, he hit .328 (165-for-503) with 108 runs scored, 31 doubles, 11 triples, 32 home runs, 92 RBIs, and 36 stolen bases combined over 122 games with Winston-Salem (High-A), Birmingham (Double-A), and Charlotte (Triple-A). Robert finished the season as a member of the exclusive 30-30 club, swatting 32 home runs and stealing 36 bases. He was a 2019 Southern League Mid-Season All-Star and represented the Chicago White Sox organization at the 2019 Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game in Cleveland, OH.
Fresh off of a solid 2019 campaign – and just before the 2020 season -- Robert and the White Sox agreed to a six-year, $50 million contract. The contract extension proved to be a valuable one of the White Sox, who reaped the benefits right away as Robert shined as a rookie.
The 2020 season – shortened to just 60 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic – saw Robert excel in-the-field and at-the-plate. He posted an impressive .994 fielding percentage and committed just one error in 154 chances. He led all American League outfielders in total chances and ranked sixth overall in defensive WAR (1.0). Robert also ranked among the MLB Statcast leaders in runs prevented (T2nd, 5), outs above average (T2nd, 7) and defensive runs saved (T7th, 8). For his efforts, he was named the American League Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner among center fielders on November 3, 2020. With the award, the 23-year-old became the first rookie in White Sox history to win the award since Tommie Agee (1966). In addition, Robert is first former Charlotte Knights player to win the award since Yolmer Sánchez took home the AL Rawlings Gold Glove Award in 2019 at second base with the White Sox.
Robert also enjoyed a solid rookie season at the plate with the White Sox. The Cuban-born outfielder hit 11 home runs over his 56 games played with 31 RBIs. He finished second in the American League Rookie of the Year voting behind Seattle’s Kyle Lewis, who took home the award. Still, despite some struggles in his final month of the season in 2020, Robert was among the leaders in nearly all offensive categories for an American League rookie. He was “as advertised” as a rookie.
Now, as Robert puts his rookie season in his rear view, he is primed to build off the success he had as he enters his sophomore season. With additional talent all around him – and a Hall of Fame manager now in the dugout leading the way – Robert is poised for an even bigger year. That’s good news for the White Sox and bad news for major league pitchers