Analysis Prospect Reports White Sox

White Sox: Arizona Fall League Report, Week One

With the Arizona Fall League wrapping up their opening week of games, Sean Williams shares his observations on how the White Sox prospects have fared so far.

The Glendale Desert Dogs are closing in on the end of their opening week in the Arizona Fall League. All White Sox prospects, except for Tanner Banks, have had the opportunity to play in at least one of the first three games. On Tuesday, Desert Dogs Manager Dave Anderson got a look at what the White Sox pitchers are bringing to his team as he had them throw two thirds of an inning or more each. You can read about the pitchers, as well as other notes from the first game right here. Despite the Desert Dogs not having a win up to this point, the White Sox prospects have consistently been impressive.

Let’s take a look at how the position players have fared over the first three games:

Luis Robert

Luis Robert is the only White Sox prospect that has been in the lineup for all three games. He’s hit cleanup each time, has been the designated hitter, played center field, and right field. Aside from excellent bat speed, the first things that jump out about Luis Robert’s game are his speed and base running instincts. On multiple occasions in the early days of the Arizona Fall League, he’s successfully advanced from first to third on a hit where the average player would be thrown out with ease. He constantly gets a good read on the ball and always checks his outfielders when he’s on base. He hustles on every single play and his effort is always 100 percent. You can see that in the video below when he flies down the line on a RBI single:

At the plate, Luis Robert looks great and has put the ball in play frequently. Most importantly, he’s getting the job done with runners in scoring position. He has four hits so far in the Arizona Fall League, and three of those hits have come with men in scoring position. His swing looks very smooth and he’s able to effortlessly drive the ball to all fields. Another noticeable aspect in his game so far is that he’s showing patience at the plate. He hasn’t gone after many pitches that he doesn’t like and he’s fighting some off until he gets his pitch. With each game that goes by in the Arizona Fall League, Luis Robert is looking more and more comfortable at the plate. If he continues to show this patience and stays healthy, we might see him suit up on the South Side much quicker than we initially anticipated.

Defensively, Luis Robert has held his ground in the outfield. In the opening game, he had a hard time with the sun, but that was a common occurrence between outfielders that day. In Thursday’s game, he showcased his arm strength from right field. With a runner being ready to tag from second-base, Luis Robert made a catch and fired a dart to the third-baseman. After realizing how strong of a throw Robert had made, the runner immediately went back to second-base knowing he would’ve been thrown out. In the same game and with no one on base, Luis Robert got a grounder hit his way. He got down on one knee and made sure he trapped the ball so it wouldn’t get past him. Again, that’s him showing how he always gives 100 percent and never takes a play off. Luis Robert works hard every single day and it’s going to pay off largely throughout his career.

Laz Rivera

Laz Rivera joins Robert as another White Sox prospect that is making the most of his time in the Arizona Fall League. In the opening game, he picked up two hits and one of them just missed going over the wall in the deepest part of the ballpark. An extra-base hit isn’t anything to shy away from, however, that was not his most impressive trip(s) to the plate. In the same game, Rivera found himself in what was an eleven pitch battle. After fighting off pitch after pitch, he poked a single to the left side of the infield. He did the same thing again on Thursday, only this time it was a twelve pitch battle that ended with a walk after he was down 0-2 initially. He too, has taken a more patient approach to the plate and as a result, he’s found quite a few pitches he’s been able to put good wood on, and he’s walked.

In the field, Laz Rivera has played second-base in both games. There hasn’t been much hit his way so far. However, he nearly made a gold glove caliber play on Thursday. There was a blooper hit right over his head and he leaped up to make the catch, but the ball tipped off the end of his glove and fell for a hit. He’s covered second-base on a few stolen base attempts, however, he hasn’t received an accurate throw and has been unable to lay down a tag because of it. On the few balls hit his way, he’s shown the ability of having a quick transfer and an accurate arm when throwing to first-base.

Laz Rivera playing second-base for the Glendale Desert Dogs (photo credit to: Sean Williams/The Loop Sports).

Luis Alexander Basabe

Outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe made his Arizona Fall League debut on Thursday when he played left field and batted second in the lineup. At the plate, he was very aggressive and swung on the first pitch in almost every at-bat. If he sees something he likes, even if it’s early in the count, he does not hesitate to swing. He will have to work on that as he gets closer to the majors because once a pitcher knows he swings early, they will attack him by throwing junk early in the count. He did not record a hit in Thursday’s game, however, he drove in a run, drew a walk, and barreled two balls to center field.

Luis Alexander Basabe is the type of player that can impact the game in many ways and he showed that on Thursday. He made the most exciting catch I’ve seen in the Arizona Fall League so far. He read the ball perfectly and tracked it perfectly off the bat as he made a over-the-shoulder catch on the warning track. He also showed off his arm strength when he made a great throw to home that prevented a runner from tagging. Basabe is up there with some of the most intriguing prospects in this league. He needs more playing time moving forward, so he can show off what he’s capable of doing. Plus, with the recent development of power, it would be nice to see if that looks like something that’s going to continue to develop throughout his career, or if it’s something that’s peaking at the moment. Luis Alexander Basabe did a good job on Thursday with it being the first time he’s seen live pitching in over a month. He will continue to get better as he works on getting back into a groove.

Luis Basabe playing left field for the Glendale Desert Dogs (photo credit to: Sean Williams/The Loop Sports).

After almost a full week of Arizona Fall League games, the White Sox prospects have grouped themselves into some of the most productive and exciting prospects on the Glendale Desert Dogs roster. They are just getting their feet wet in this league and their performances should continue to go up from here.

Up next: the Glendale Desert Dogs are heading to Surprise to face the Saguaros this afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 2:35 CT.

Follow Sean on Twitter-Feature Photo Credit: Sean Williams/The Loop Sports


2 comments on “White Sox: Arizona Fall League Report, Week One

  1. I think a good approach is the most important thing players at this level can develop. Patience, but not to Moncada’s level. I don’t put much stock in how well they do because the pitchers are just developing prospects themselves and they’re also working on their games. Still, Robert’s speed will translate very nicely to the major league level and I can’t wait to see him and Madrigal setting the table for Eloy.

    • Sean Williams

      Thank you for reading and I agree with you. Both Luis Robert and Laz Rivera have showed a more patient approach already and it’s great to see. You bring up a good point with the pitchers too. The AFL can be an offensively dominated league at times, but there are some pitchers here with above average stuff.

      Luis Robert has a lot to his game that will translate to the next level. He is in for a very bright future and he just needs to stay healthy. Agreed, the top end of the White Sox order is going to be so fun to watch down the road.

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