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Robert blasts first dinger for White Sox

No. 3 overall prospect has hit safely in first three big league games
Luis Robert is sporting a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage through his first 27 innings in center field for the White Sox. (Nam Y. Huh/AP)
July 27, 2020

You can put it on the board -- Luis Robert mashed his first big league dinger on Sunday afternoon. The top White Sox prospect continued his torrid big league debut with his first homer, a two-run blast off veteran right-hander Kenta Maeda that accounted for the White Sox offense in

You can put it on the board -- Luis Robert mashed his first big league dinger on Sunday afternoon.

The top White Sox prospect continued his torrid big league debut with his first homer, a two-run blast off veteran right-hander Kenta Maeda that accounted for the White Sox offense in a 14-2 drubbing by the Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The rocket off the bat of’s No. 3 overall prospect came in the fifth inning on a first-pitch 85 mph changeup. It had an exit velocity of 111.4 mph and traveled an estimated 419 feet to straightaway center field.

"My first home run in the big leagues, I’m very happy for it,” Robert told reporters through team interpreter Billy Russo. “As soon as I hit the ball, I knew that I made solid contact with it. Feels good to have the first one out of the way, it’s a relief. I feel good and I know there’s going to be more to come.”

Robert has hit safely in all three big league games, with two going for extra bases, and is batting .364 average with a 1.144 OPS. His blast came followed a leadoff double by Adam Engel and was his only knock of the game. But the 22-year-old battled out of an 0-2 hole and walked against left-hander and Twins No. 10 prospect Lewis Thorpe. It was the Cuba native's first big league free pass.

"It isn’t easy for me to take walks," Robert said. "You know, I'm a very aggressive hitter, I go to home plate to swing, but there are days like today when you have to recognize how the pitchers are attacking you and just take advantage of it."

Robert climbed through three levels of the Minors last year, batting .328 with 32 homers, 92 RBIs and a 1.001 OPS. His accelerated success prompted the South Siders to bet big on him in January when they signed him to a six-year extension that could total $88 million.

The toolsy outfielder showed an excellent return on the investment when he batted .333/.381/.564 with six extra-base hits and four RBIs in 14 Cactus League games. His daily highlight-reel performances during Summer Camp added to the anticipation of his debut, and he has not disappointed.

"I have been feeling good at home plate, in the outfield, good with the team, and I think I’m feeling pretty comfortable at this level. If I have to make an adjustment, I will do it, but so far I am feeling very good and comfortable," Robert said. "(This first series) showed me how you have to play at this level, and I think it was a good experience and put me in a good position for what is coming this season and in the future."

White Sox No. 19 prospect Danny Mendick went hitless with a walk in three at-bats.

Thorpe yielded a hit and a pair of walks over 2 2/3 scoreless frames out of the Twins' bullpen.

Mariners 7, Astros 6

Tenth-ranked M's prospect Kyle Lewis continued his hot start with two more knocks, including a go-ahead two-run single in the eighth inning. Evan White (No. 4) chipped in an RBI single in the first. Fourth-ranked Astros prospect Abraham Toro batted for Taylor Jones (No. 24) and went 0-for-2 after Jones went hitless in two at-bats. Garrett Stubbs (No. 23) ran for Michael Brantley with two outs in the ninth but was left in scoring position. Righty Bryan Abreu (No. 5) worked around a pair of walks and recorded a strikeout in 1 2/3 hitless frames for the Astros. Lefty Blake Taylor (No. 27) took the ball from Abreu and was perfect while fanning two in 1 1/3 innings. Box score

Rays 6, Blue Jays 5 (10 innings)

Blue Jays No. 20 prospect Anthony Alford got the start in left field and went hitless in two at-bats. Santiago Espinal (No. 21) came on as a pinch-runner in the 10th, stole third base and scored on a sacrifice fly by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to put Toronto in front. On the mound, a trio of Blue Jays prospects worked the first six innings. Right-hander Thomas Hatch (No. 23) got the start and issued a pair of walks while striking out three over 2 1/3 hitless frames, southpaw Anthony Kay (No. 10) was the first out of the bullpen and yielded a run on three hits in 2 2/3 innings. He whiffed a pair before 30th-ranked Jordan Romano fanned one in a perfect sixth. Box score

Rockies 5, Rangers 2

Ninth-ranked Colorado prospect Sam Hilliard did not record a hit but worked a pair of walks. Rangers No. 5 prospect Nick Solak went 2-for-4 with an RBI, while a couple of prospects pitched for Texas. Joe Palumbo (No. 9) was tagged with his first loss after allowing three runs on three hits and a walk while fanning four over two frames and Jonathan Hernández (No. 25) worked around a walk in a hitless eighth. Box score

Indians 9, Royals 2

Daniel Johnson, Cleveland's No. 9 prospect, entered as a pinch-runner in the seventh inning and took over in right field. No. 21 Yu Chang got the start at third base, then moved over to shortstop in the ninth. He notched a hit and a walk and scored a run. Royals No. 16 prospect Ronald Bolaños got the start and and yielded a pair of unearned runs on three hits and a walk with a punchout over two innings. Box score

Pirates 5, Cardinals 1

Mitch Keller began the day as Pittsburgh’s top prospect. He fell off the list after completing his second inning but gladly took the tradeoff by recording his club’s first win of the year. The 24-year-old gave up one run on two hits and three walks while fanning two in five frames. JT Brubaker followed with three scoreless innings in his Major League debut. The right-hander scattered three hits, struck out four and did not issue a walk. Cardinals No. 13 prospect Kodi Whitley fanned one in a perfect inning in his big league debut. Box score

Cubs 9, Brewers 1

Nico Hoerner helped spearhead an 11-hit attack with a double and a single at Wrigley Field. The top Cubs prospect doubled to left field in the second inning and delivered an RBI knock and scored in a four-run fourth. Hoerner batted .282/.305/.431 in his 20 big league games last year following his first callup. The 23-year-old made the jump directly from Double-A Tennessee in September. Box score

Marlins 11, Phillies 6

A shorthanded Miami lineup rallied from an early four-run deficit to get starter Robert Dugger off the hook after a shaky season debut. The No. 30 Marlins prospect surrendered four runs in the first inning, the big blow coming on Bryce Harper’s three-run homer. Dugger was charged with five runs -- four earned -- on six hits and a walk with two punchouts in 3 1/3 frames. Jordan Holloway (No. 20) retired one batter and yielded two singles and a walk in his Major League debut. Phillies No. 22 prospect Cole Irvin took the loss after surrendering four runs on five hits with one strikeout in an inning out of the bullpen. Box score

Athletics 6, Angels 4

Sean Murphy clubbed his first homer of the year in the A’s win. Oakland’s No. 2 prospect launched a solo shot with two outs in the sixth inning off Noe Ramirez. Jared Walsh, the Angels’ 23rd-ranked prospect, went hitless in three trips to the plate. Box score

D-backs 4, Padres 3

Jake Cronenworth got his feet wet as a pinch-runner for San Diego in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Padres No. 17 prospect followed that with an RBI double in the ninth in his first Major League at-bat, drawing San Diego within a run. D-backs No. 26 prospect Kevin Ginkel struck out one and worked around a hit and a walk in an inning of scoreless relief. Box score

Braves 14, Mets 1

After delivering a pinch-hit RBI single in his first Major League at-bat Saturday, William Contreras added three more hits in his first big league start. Atlanta's ninth-ranked prospect is 4-for-6 to begin his career. @Andres Gimenez replaced Jeff McNeil at third base in the top of the seventh inning and went hitless in two at-bats. The No. 3 Mets prospect flied out in his first Major League plate appearance in Saturday’s loss. Box score

Giants 3, Dodgers 2

Mauricio Dubón singled home the go-ahead run in the sixth inning to lift San Francisco past Los Angeles. The No. 11 Giants prospect had two hits and scored the first run of the game. Jaylin Davis (No. 13) went hitless in two at-bats. Brusdar Graterol (0-1) took the loss in relief of starter Luis Urias. The No. 5 Dodgers prospect surrendered a run on two hits, including Dubon's tie-breaking single, and retired one batter. Box score

Rob Terranova is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @RobTnova24.