What’s life but an opportunity to dwell on one’s failures? And this author has one big failure to dwell on. I never bought in on Luis Robert.
His numbers as a teenager were gaudy in Cuba, and it seemed too good to be true when he came to the White Sox as the top-billed product of an international draft class. I wrote off the numbers as inflated by a high offense environment, and I doubled down on my anger related to the penalties suffered from when the White Sox signed Robert.
Then the injuries happened, the scouts doubted him and I ate it all up at a never-ending buffet of pessimism. Even going into the year, after seeing him turn it around in Kannapolis to end the year and breakout in the Arizona Fall League, I still gave him the lowest ranking of anyone on the FutureSox team.
But, I brought out the bandwagon pump trolley from the shed, dusted it off and am rushing full speed to properly appreciate the White Sox No. 1 prospect.
Robert has spent the entire 2019 season making scouts and the competition seem silly. In Winston-Salem, he put up an otherworldly line of .453/.512/.920 in 84 at-bats. He brought that hot bat to Birmingham, where he put up a .311/.354/.537 line. He has power, speed and looks like the physical embodiment of the modern day ballplayer.
Robert will be in Chicago as soon as next season (if he doesn’t get a taste of coffee this September) and when he debuts I’ll be there, egg on my face, admitting my failures and enjoying his excellence. In a system where it seems development has stalled or gone off the rails for so many prospects, the White Sox hit a home run with Robert, and having him in a lineup with Eloy Jimenez and Yoan Moncada will be exciting for years to come.
I was wrong, and I’m delighted to admit it.
With that, here’s what you need to know this week.
Prospect performance highlights
Winston-Salem OF Steele Walker hit for the cycle June 17 and was named the Carolina League Player of the Week soon thereafter.
Winston-Salem 2B Nick Madrigal, RHP Will Kincanon, RHP Luis Ledo, LHP John Parke, OF Jameson Fisher and 3B Zach Remillard were all named to the 2019 Carolina League All-Star Game.
Kannapolis OF Ian Dawkins and RHP Johan Dominguez were named to the South Atlantic League All-Star Game
Birmingham OF Luis Robert, C Yermin Mercedes (a very beefy boy), RHP Jimmy Lambert and LHP Kyle Kubat were all named to the 2019 Southern League All-Star Game.
- Charlotte OF Adam Engel went 3-5 with a home run and a strikeout June 18. OF Daniel Palka went 3-5 with a double and C Seby Zavala went 3-5 with a strikeout
- Charlotte OF Jon Jay went 3-4 with a walk and a strikeout. Who wants Manny Machado when you can have Jon Jay and Yonder Alonso? Is it too late to bring in another Machado family member?
- Great Falls OF Cabrera Weaver went 3-3 with a triple and two walks. 1B Sam Abbott went 3-5 with a double, a home run and a strikeout.
- Charlotte 2B Danny Mendick went 2-3 with a double and a walk.
- Winston-Salem RHP Kade McClure threw six shutout innings June 20th. He gave up two hits, struck out three and walked no one.
- Kannapolis RHP Davis Martin threw seven shutout innings June 20. He struck out six, gave up three hits and walked no one.
- Winston-Salem OF Steele Walker went 4-5 with a double and a K June 21
- Kannapolis 1B Corey Zangari went 3-3 with three doubles June 21
- Birmingham OF Luis Robert homered in three consecutive games through June 22.
- Birmingham placed OF Luis Alexander Basabe on the 7-day injured list, retroactive to June 21.
- Birmingham activated 3B TI’Quan Forbes from the temporarily inactive list June 23
- Birmingham activated C Nate Nolan from the 7-day IL June 20
- Kannapolis activated RHP Austin Conway and LHP Taylor Varnell from the 7-day IL June 20
- Charlotte OF Joel Booker was demoted to Birmingham
- Charlotte LHP Jacob Lindgren was sent on a rehab assignment to the AZL White Sox
- The White Sox optioned Thyago Vieira to Charlotte
- Birmingham C Yermin Mercedes and LHP Kyle Kubat were promoted to Charlotte
- OF Jacob Scavuzzo was assigned to Charlotte
- Winston-Salem LHP John Parke and RHP Codi Heuer were promoted to Birmingham
- Birmingham LHP Kyle Kubat was promoted to Charlotte
- Birmingham RHP Wyatt Burns was demoted to Kannapolis
- Birmingham RHP Tyler Johnson was sent on a rehab assignment to the AZL White Sox
- Kannapolis RHP Jonathan Stiever, LHP Andrew Perez and LHP Bennett Sousa were assigned to Winston-Salem
- Charlotte C Zack Collins was promoted to the White Sox
- The White Sox recalled Charlotte RHP Carson Fulmer
- Charlotte posted a 5-1 week (41-34 overall, 4.5 games back). The Knights continue to hold onto second place and to be honest, I’m not sure how things are going so right for this team. So I’ll attribute it to the baseball gods. Also, all hail the arrival of Kyle Kubat to one day provide valuable innings-eating middle-relief to the main roster. Also, I knew he was here, but wow, Alcides Escobar is here. If only Ned Yost was here to pencil him in to lead off. The Knights play two against Durham, two against Gwinnett and four against Norfolk.
- Birmingham went 1-3 for the week (1-3 overall, 2 games back). After securing a last-place finish in the first half, the Barons started the second half, showing you their first half was not a fluke. Injuries decimated the Barons in the first half but it’s a long season and hopefully, the barons have some magic left. They finish a series in Chattanooga before going to Mobile for five before beginning a series against the Smokies.
- Winston-Salem had a 1-3 week (1-3 overall, 3 games back). Winston-Salem finished the first half in second at 38-26. They were unfortunately 9 games back. They followed in their older brother’s footsteps and started the second half 1-2. They’ll look to reclaim that first half spark with a three-game series against Myrtle Beach and a four-game series against Salem.
- Kannapolis compiled a 3-1 week (3-1 overall, tied for first). Stop me if I’ve said this before but the Intimidators weren’t very intimidating in the first half. They held down the cellar with a 28-40 record, but a fresh infusion of hot talent lava coming sometime in the second half will make the team better, and will finally let me retire that tired, uncreative observation. They play Greenville and West Virginia this week.
- Great Falls put up a 3-3 week (4-5 overall, 5 games back). The team with the most underrated logo in logo in Minor League Baseball opened their season last week and will undoubtedly be home to the White Sox next round of prospects before summer is said and done. They play six against the Idaho Falls Chuckers.
- AZL White Sox posted a 2-4 week 2-4 overall, 2 games back).
- DSL White Sox had a 3-3 week (8-11 overall,5 games back).
News and Links
Steve Greenberg had some more elegant words on Robert in the Sun-Times.
The latest episode of the FutureSox podcast dropped featuring newly-promoted White Sox C Zack Collins. Listen here.
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