Class A Advanced Winston-Salem hitting coach Charlie Poe got his first glance at Luis Robert at a January mini-camp at the White Sox complex in Glendale, Arizona and finally tangibly saw what the hype was about. Now that he's got the chance to work closely with him as his hitting coach,
Class A Advanced Winston-Salem hitting coach Charlie Poe got his first glance at Luis Robert at a January mini-camp at the White Sox complex in Glendale, Arizona and finally tangibly saw what the hype was about.
Now that he's got the chance to work closely with him as his hitting coach, Poe's even more impressed with Robert's potential.
"It was everything everybody talked about," Poe said of the third-ranked White Sox prospect, who broke out with a career-high four hits and drove in three runs in Class A Advanced Winston Salem's 10-8 win over Frederick at Nymeo Field on Thursday.
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"I'm just happy to have him on the team with us and contributing every day."
Robert debuted with Class A Kannapolis on June 8 and hasn't gone hitless in more than two consecutive games. The Havana, Cuba native was promoted to the Carolina League on June 21 after hitting .289/.360/.400 with the Intimidators. He raised his average in Class A Advanced to .300 and his OPS to .722 after raking three singles and adding a two-run double against the Keys.
After lining out in his first at-bat, baseball's No. 25 overall prospect legged out an infield single to shortstop that scored Ti'Quan Forbes. He poked a single to left in his fifth at-bat in the sixth after striking out in the fourth, picked up another infield single on a soft line drive to short and capped his evening by turning on a first-pitch offering from Frederick reliever Mike Burke in the ninth to plate a pair of runs.
Poe was impressed with how Robert bounced back from an 0-for-8 stretch over the previous two games.
A thumb sprain ailed Robert during Spring Training and Poe says he still isn't 100 percent recovered. But he's still seeing the flashes of impressive tools.
"The way the ball comes off the bat, it's different and you can tell why he the money he got," Poe said.
Robert was signed for a reported $26 million last summer, the second-highest signing bonus behind Yoán Moncada's $31 million with the Red Sox. The 20-year-old and is described by scouts as a five-tool athlete with lightning-quick hands, raw power and the ability to play all three outfield spots.
After amassing a slash line of .310/.491/.536 in the Dominican Summer League last season, Poe said Robert is still adjusting to playing baseball in the United States. While he has a translator to help him out, Poe said Robert ties to bounce questions off him when the two are working one-on-one in the cage.
"We communicate very well," Poe said. "It's really good to see him willing to do that stuff. ... He's really eager and willing, which is not always the case with players who come to the States."
Robert's two insurance runs in the ninth proved key for the Dash as T.J. Nichting's RBI double and Wilson Garcia's two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth cut Winston-Salem's lead to two.
Chicago's No. 11 prospect Gavin Sheets slugged two homers to double his total this season. Poe said while he hasn't flashed significant power this season, the organization isn't worried about a dearth of power.
"The home runs and the power numbers are going to come," Poe said. "He saw good pitches to hit and he didn't miss them. It was great to see."
Mitch Roman went 2-for-3 with three runs and seventh-ranked Blake Rutherford drove in three for Winston-Salem. The Dash totaled 18 hits and fell just short of a second steak dinner in four days -- Poe's rule is he takes all of the hitters out for a steak dinner if Winston-Salem collects 20 or more hits, and the Dash racked 20 base knocks in a 19-2 winover Frederick on Monday.
Nichting was 4-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBIs and Garcia jacked two homers and drove in five runs for the Keys.
Josh Horton is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @joshhortonMiLB