When it was announced that Luis Robert was going to be participating in the Arizona Fall League, I immediately got excited over the fact that I would regularly be able to see one of the White Sox’ top prospects go up against some of the other top prospects throughout the MLB. Luis Robert was coming off his first professional season that ended with him reaching Hi-A and playing for the Winston-Salem Dash.
The Arizona Fall League is primarily composed of prospects from Triple-A, Double-A, and there are a few Hi-A players that get an opportunity to play in this league as well. Luis Robert has been one of the White Sox top prospects since the day he was signed, but with an injury plagued first season, Sox fans never got much of a chance to see what their future outfielder can do on the field. However, the Arizona Fall League presented him with an extra month of games, getting him up to speed moving into Spring Training and the upcoming season.
Before stepping foot on a diamond in the United States, Luis Robert was one of the higher rated prospects in all of baseball. Coming off of two thumb injuries and not being able to truly get a feel for his game, Luis Robert was set to face his toughest competition yet in the AFL. It was expected for him to perform well, however, I never imagined him performing at the high level that he did throughout the entire AFL season.
The Arizona Fall League always has some of the best pitching prospects that the MLB has to offer. This year, the Scottsdale Scorpions had Forrest Whitley on their roster, who is rated as the top pitching prospect according to MLB Pipeline. Luis Robert faced Whitley twice in the Arizona Fall League, once in the Fall Stars Game and the other time was during a regular season game. In the Fall Stars Game, Robert grounded out on the first pitch he saw. During the regular season, Luis Robert managed to get two hits off Whitley with one of them being a RBI double (shown in the video below). In that game, Whitley only gave up four total hits during his outing and Luis Robert was responsible for two of those hits. In the same game, he also singled off Melvin Adon of the Giants, a right-hander that is capable of hitting 100 mph on the speed gun consistently.
— Sean Williams (@TLS_Sean) November 9, 2018
Luis Robert also got the opportunity to face Nate Pearson of the Blue Jays during the regular season. Robert went 1-2 with a single against him. Pearson is the Blue Jays fourth overall prospect and is ranked a top 100 prospect according to MLB Pipeline. Pearson is another guy that can hit 100 mph on the speed gun. He displayed that ability during the Fall Stars Game when he hit 104 mph and 103 mph multiple times during his lone inning of work.
Aside from facing some of the best pitching prospects in the game, Luis Robert was also tasked with facing some of the best pitching prospects in individual farm systems. Robert got to face Ryan Castellani of the Rockies (#10 overall in their system/#2 RHP) and went 1-2 with a single, stole two bases, and scored a run against him. Jesus Castillo of the Angels is another highly rated prospect (#12 overall in their system/#3 RHP) that Robert got to face. Against Castillo, Robert collectively went 1-3 with a single, walk, and scored a run in two games. Luis Robert also faced Thomas Burrows from the Braves (#19 in their system/#9 RHP) and he went 1-1 against Burrows with a RBI single. Lastly, Scott Blewett from the Royals (#26 overall in their system) is another top 30 system guy Luis Robert faced during the Arizona Fall League. On November 11, Luis Robert went 2-2 with a pair of singles against Blewett.
As it shows, Luis Robert was facing tough talent on a daily basis throughout his time in Arizona and he handled it well. Along with the overall successful stint in the Arizona Fall League, he also showed some development of power which White Sox fans have been waiting for. After not hitting one home run throughout the 2018 season, Luis Robert connected on two home runs during the AFL. His second home run is shown in the video below and I don’t think it has landed yet…
— The Loop Sports (@TheLoop_Sports) November 8, 2018
So what does all of this mean? For one, his performance will definitely give him some confidence moving into Spring Training and the upcoming season. After dealing with injuries and under performing in his first season, Luis Robert should feel very satisfied with himself after the Arizona Fall League. Secondly, his performance shows that he’s been able to handle any task thrown his way so far. The pitchers in the Fall League were some of the best he’s seen in the early parts of his career and he handled them with ease. If he can continue to stay healthy and perform at this level, he should rise through the White Sox farm system very quickly, maybe even quicker than we initially thought. Overall, it was a very successful Arizona Fall League season for Luis Robert, and he continues to show flashes of why he will be such an exciting player on the South Side for many years down the road.
Final Stats: 18 G, .324/.367/.432, 24 H, 2 2B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 5 BB, 13 K, 5 SB, 0 CS.
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