Luis Robert went almost two years between home runs. The wait for his second wasn't nearly as long.The fourth-ranked White Sox prospect delivered the first multi-homer game of his career and drove in a personal-best five runs to lead Class A Advanced Winston-Salem past Frederick, 9-4, on Opening Night at
Luis Robert went almost two years between home runs. The wait for his second wasn't nearly as long.
The fourth-ranked White Sox prospect delivered the first multi-homer game of his career and drove in a personal-best five runs to lead Class A Advanced Winston-Salem past Frederick, 9-4, on Opening Night at Nymeo Field. Robert, who also walked and stole a base, went deep for the first time since Aug. 25, 2017 in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League.
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MLB.com's No. 39 overall prospect did not hit a home run in 50 games last season during his first domestic campaign, which included stops at Winston-Salem, Class A Kannapolis and a rehab assignment in the Rookie-level Arizona League.
Robert led off the game with a walk and swiped second base, then snapped a 3-3 tie with a three-run shot to left-center field in the third inning. The 21-year-old slugged a two-run blast in the next frame to extend the Dash's lead. He struck out in his last two at-bats.
"I felt really good, going all the way back to Spring Training," Robert said through interpreter Anthony Santiago, Winston-Salem's Latin/cultural development coordinator. "I missed about a week after jamming my thumb, but I had plenty of time to prepare the way I needed to. It was nice to get off to that type of start."
Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2017, Robert was plagued by injuries last year after suffering a sprained left wrist in Spring Training that sidelined him until June. Just 10 days after earning a promotion to the Carolina League following a 13-game stint with Kannapolis, the Cuba native reinjured the same wrist while collecting his first four-hit game on July 3 and was placed on the injured list. He returned to Winston-Salem a month later and finished with a .269/.333/.360 slash line with 14 extra-base hits and 15 stolen bases in 19 attempts.
"I'm definitely a lot more comfortable this year," Robert said. "Especially coming off a second Spring Training and having played [in Winston-Salem] a little last year. I felt a lot more relaxed coming into the season knowing my surroundings. Going back to my time playing in Cuba, I've always been healthy. It was frustrating to miss time last year, but I just want to stay on the field this season, get better and hope for good results."
The outfielder played in the Arizona Fall League, where he batted .324/.367/.432 with four extra-base hits, 19 runs scored and 10 RBIs in 18 games for Glendale. Robert was invited to Spring Training for a second consecutive season and went 5-for-16 (.313) with a homer and eight RBIs. That only boosted his confidence.
"I think [having a good spring] relaxed me and made me feel more comfortable," Robert said. "Being in big league camp for a few weeks and playing well with other prospects and big leaguers was good for me. It gave me even more confidence coming back down to the Minors."
Yeyson Yrizarri went yard, doubled and drove in two runs for Winston-Salem.
Right-hander Zach Lewis (1-0) allowed an unearned run on six hits and a walk while striking out a career-high eight over 6 2/3 innings in relief of Dash starter Lincoln Henzman. Chicago's No. 26 prospect retired one batter and surrendered three runs -- one earned -- on two hits and a walk before he left the game. Jose Nin yielded two hits and fanned two over two scoreless frames.
Ryan Ripken reached base three times for the Keys. The son of Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. collected two doubles, scored twice, drove in a run and walked. Jomar Reyes and Mason McCoy added two hits and an RBI apiece.
In his first Carolina League start, Orioles No. 11 prospectBrenan Hanifee was tagged for seven runs -- six earned -- on three hits and a career-high five walks with a pair of strikeouts in four innings.
Michael Avallone is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MavalloneMiLB.