I didn’t want to write up Luis Robert of the Chicago White Sox because I’m a scared little boy named Marcus (real name is Son) who didn’t want to be stranded on an island by himself. I kid. I don’t know how I feel about him to be honest. My gut is yelling that he’s overpriced, but so many of my Razzball brethren are super high on him (Grey and Rudy recently drafted him in the 60s and Donkey Teeth set the minimum pick on him I believe in TGFBI). Let’s dig in and see if I should take out my gut with a baseball bat.

Robert is 22 years old, 6′ 3″, 205 pounds, and bats from the right side of the plate. He was the consensus #1 international prospect in 2016. In 2017, the White Sox signed him for just over $26 million. He’s a five-tool player who’s been compared to Vladimir Guerrero. The athleticism is off the charts, the bat speed is quick, and the power is prodigious. Oh, I forgot about the speed. He posted a sub-6.3 second 60-yard dash. For perspective, 6.7-6.9 is average. Billy Hamilton ran it in 6.2 seconds.

 

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I get it. Robert is as alluring a prospect as there is in the game.

Looking at the minor league numbers, the walk rate has been in the 5% range while the strikeout rate has been a manageable 22-24%. He hit for average and power. In 223 plate appearances in Triple-A, Robert had a slash of .297/.341/.634 with 16 homers, 7 stolen bases, a .324 BABIP, and .337 ISO. He pulled the ball 42% and lifted the ball in the air 49% of the time, which could be good for home runs, but could affect his batting average and BABIP. With his speed, a GB/FB rate over 0.5 is probably ideal. I wish minor league plate discipline numbers were available, as I’m curious at the swinging strike rate, contact rates, and chase rates.

With the numbers that I have, my gut is in trouble. Yet, it still yearns out to me.

What makes me most weary about Robert is that he’s never faced major league pitching. There’s going to be an adjustment period. His weaknesses are going to get exposed. How will he react? How will he adjust? Do we even know what his weaknesses are? These are unknown variables, yet he’s being drafted as if those Triple-A numbers can be penciled in for his MLB stats. Byron Buxton, Javier Baez, and fellow teammate Yoan Moncada all struggled their first time in the bigs. Remember Vlad Guerrero Jr. last season, being drafted on average with the 51st pick and a high of 17? He wasn’t awful, but fell well short of the expectations. Those are but a few, with the list much, much longer. On the flip side, there have been examples of players doing well right from the get go. Ronald Acuna obviously stands out. Another White Sox (Sock?), Eloy Jimenez, did just fine last season so it’s within the range of outcomes that Robert could have a great season. I’m not willing to pay the draft day price, though, of a 50 or 60 overall pick.

Steamer has Robert projected for a .269/.313/.471 line with 25 homers, 75 runs, 78 RBI, and 25 stolen bases with a 4.6% walk rate, 26.8% strikeout rate, .202 ISO, and .333 BABIP. Guess who projects almost identical to that? Our good friend, Byron Buxton, who Steamer has down for .262/.318/.462 and 19 homers, 72 runs, 71 RBI, and 23 stolen bases with a 6.8% walk rate, 25.3% strikeout rate, .200 ISO, and .323 BABIP. Buxton is being drafted as the 155th overall player, almost 100 picks after Robert.

That’s not all though. With all the euphoria regarding Robert, there’s been little talk about the floor. With his propensity for strikeouts, what if he hits .250 or lower, the power is middling at 25 homers and he doesn’t steal, because often your players don’t? Buxton batted .209 with a 31.9% strikeout rate his first time in the bigs. Moncada hit .231 with a 32% strikeout rate. Baez hit .169 with a 41.5% strikeout rate.

Robert is also likely to be hitting 8th in the batting order.

I feel like such a party pooper, but it is what it is. I get the allure because the ceiling is so high and, even if he struggles, a 20/20 season is likely. Speed plays and there are only 11 players projected to go 20/20 by Steamer for this upcoming season. I just have a difficult time paying top dollar price for a player that could easily hit the floor projections, especially when there’s a player sitting down in the doldrums who has just as much pedigree, talent, and has been through the wringer already.

Robert is a TREASURE, but considering the levels to where he’s been elevated to in drafts, he’s a TRASH for me.

I hated writing this post and will probably get so much shit for it, but at least I can stop listening to my gut one way or another.

 
  1. Skip Mcgillicuddy says:
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    The reports from scouts about trouble recognizing spin is definitely a concern. It would have to depend on my previous picks for me to pull the trigger in the 60s. If i built up a solid foundation id take a shot there. If he fell into the 80 range i wouldnt hesitate.

    • Son says:
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      I’m with you, Skip. He’d probably have to go lower than that for me, though.

      • MARK e Penn says:
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        It reminds me of that Houston fellow who got a nice contract before earning it whose name I forget. His production immediately collapsed and never recovered.

        • Son says:
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          Singleton?

  2. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Every party’s got a pooper that’s why we invited you…Party pooper!

    • Son says:
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      Lol

      Would you like the brown or green today?

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        You trying to give me the poisonous green M&M’s?

        • Son says:
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          What??!! Green M&M’s are the best!!!

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Why, cause they’re the same color as money> You’re now being very anti-semitic, Son!

            • Son says:
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              Everyone knows they taste the best!!!

              • Grey

                Grey says:
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                Stop trying to poison me! You know I can’t resist chocolate and the color green

                • Son says:
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                  I’ll get in contact with Mr & Mrs M&M and have them procreate a grey one

                  • Grey

                    Grey says:
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                    You’re the best, son!

                    • Son says:
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                      The things I do to make the world Albright

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      I love when you butter me up, I mean that as raunchy as you want to take it

            • Son says:
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              If it was because they are the same color as money, wouldn’t that make me pro-semitic?

              • Son says:
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                I’m naked and riding a Bird over to your pad right now

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  That is the secret password to have the police called

                  • Son says:
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                    Just another restraining order against me. Ain’t no thing

  3. LenFuego says:
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    Until recently, I tended to agree with you, Son – that ADP seemed awfully high for a guy who has not proven a thing at the MLB level.

    But:
    – with a contract in hand there is no reason for the White Sox not to play him the full season
    – speed does not slump
    – he was a pretty polished player coming out of Cuba
    – last year, he hit well over .300 w/ 32 HRs & 36 SBs across three levels in just 551 PAs

    It just seems like he has an extraordinarally high floor for a prospect — I cannot see him doing something less than, oh, say .250, 18 HR, 16 SB. That would be tolerable for a guy picked up in the 60s or lower. Combined with the chance for much much more, he is a very tempting pick there.

    • Son says:
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      Fair points, Len.

      You could get that same guy over 100 picks later, though, who is in a similar situation, has comparable pedigree, and has been through the adjustment period already.

      • Chris says:
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        Who is this mystery man you speak of?

        • Son says:
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          He’s named in the post

  4. Chucky says:
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    Let me put you on the spot here…..10 keep, no contracts, 12 team, H2H, 6×6 OBP. Stanton or Lu Rob?

    • Son says:
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      Robert, and it’s not close. He’s 8 years younger, doesn’t have an injury history, and is a five-tool player.

      • Keith says:
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        Doesn’t have an injury history???!?!?

        • Son says:
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          Should have rephrased that as the thumb injury isn’t he minors was big. His injury history is not as extensive

          • Son says:
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            In the…

  5. Jolt In Flow says:
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    Just because a team signs you to a 6 year contract before you hit the bigs, it doesn’t make you a better player. Otherwise, L Robert and Evan White would be going 1-2 in prospect drafts.

    That 6-year $50 mil contract can be looked at 2 ways: 1. Management gets ahead of the curve and signs him to this contract to get him on the cheap after he blows up. or 2. Management gives him the money and he turns out to be average at best. Management still looks great with this second outcome as an average player at $8.34 mil per year for 6 years (and continues to look better as the years go on) is just fine by the team. Bottom line; Chisox management was shrewd and covered themselves no matter what the outcome.

    Maybe he’s everything he’s made out to be and he’s better than where he’s been drafted so far.

    But I’m with you on this one, Son. Let’s see what he’s got. I’m taking the under on him. Let’s see if his skills translate to the bigs. My gut, and it’s a majestic gut, just doesn’t feel right with his current price.

    • Son says:
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      Agreed on the contract angle.

      I too, sir, have a tremendously round and majestic gut as well.

  6. Kutty says:
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    I’ve done two drafts so far. 1st one Robert went in the 3rd round. (No thanks). 2nd draft he went in the 8th and I took Soler last pick 6th rd and took Chapman first pick 7th rd instead. I want him but I can’t take him over someone like Soler and M.Chapman. Had they not been there? Yeah I want him somewhere but I’m having a hard time passing others to get him unfortunately.

    • Son says:
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      Damn, 3rd round is bold. I’m with you in preferring guys that have been through the wringer already. I like Robert and think he has a ton of potential, but I want to see it first as well and won’t be sad if I don’t get a share. Even if he balls the F out, I’m ok with it.

  7. Jeff Alley says:
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    What do you think about Robert for Keeper leagues? Would you draft him where he is going now?

    • Son says:
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      Keeper league is a totally different story. You would have to draft him much higher than where he is going in NFBC drafts. Probably in the 40s for startup drafts.

  8. Harley Earl says:
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    Son,

    Don’t beat yourself up so hard man! You gave sound advice there. I agree with you. He’s a good player and may be a great player, but the price is too high when you can get something more guaranteed at that spot, and you can get a Byron Buxton one hundred picks later.

    You said the same thing about Austin Riley last year. You were right. Sometimes it’s just wiser to lay up with a 7-iron and a two-putt than to pull out that 3-wood and go for the green. I think the right call here is the safe call, and you’re playing it safe.

    BUT … had you called Hiura trash in your last piece I would be hammering you with all sorts of derogatory insults. Like I said, RESPECT. Good call brotha.

    • Son says:
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      Lol! Thanks, Harley! I was so close to trashing Hiura

  9. abzoeller says:
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    He’s going to hit .249 with 19 homers and 13 SB I bet. Really I’m just commenting so I can say told you so later.

    Moncada (45 bags in 2016) and Tim Anderson (49 in 2015) both tore up the base paths in the minors, and did not run at all their rookie years. CWS like to let their young guys get a feel for things first.

    • Son says:
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      Lol. I respect you printing out the receipt.

      • Harley Earl says:
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        I’ll go .266 with 22 HR and 12 bags. Good for a rookie. Hardly worth the price required to own him.

        • Son says:
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          It’s on true board

  10. galica says:
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    SON!!!

    Great post, man.

    a. Again insight galore here. He looks like something good like Werth in his prime (minus the injuries). If he’s there around 77 or so (where I took Acuna in 2018), I’ll take him there. Nothing earlier than that.

    b. The Buxton comparison is really fantastic. I will definitely go for Buxton at 125 or maybe earlier depending on where my team is in the draft.

    c. Otherwise, how is life? Hope you are good.

    Cheers,
    Ante

    • Son says:
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      Sup, galica!!! Thanks! Always good to hear from you.

      Everything good for me. Hope the same for you. How many drafts have you done? When are your main ones?

      • galica says:
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        Son!

        a. Have done none yet, thanks for asking. Signed up for RCL#47 (looks like it’s going to be super competitive so will need to pull off a move like signing up Verlander 2018 who was way above expectations, drafting March 22) and a 10-team CBS 4×4 (no runs on offense and no Ks on pitching, drafting March 14), so super shallow with lots of moves allowed I guess. Last year I made my 500 moves by September 1 and it cost me the ‘ship. So, I have to watch out for that. I make many blunders in-season but like a fantasy cockroach (also romantic cockroach) I never give up and always find something that no one would ever touch in our league.

        b. How about you? I’d love to be in your league and just trade all my good players to you for all your injured and bad ones. It’s not like it’s never been done in the history of humanity and fantasy baseball alike.

        c. You’re aware that Jackie Chan is from Hong Kong and not Korea, right? He’s bad ass but not as bad as Min-Sik Choi in Oldboy (2003) or Byung-Hun Lee in The Good, The Bad and the Weird (2008). Don’t get me wrong, I love Jackie. But…Min-Sik Choi is your man.

        d. So sorry about corona in Korea. Hope things get better fast. Is any of your extended family affected? I h8 POTUS’ stance on corona so shameful.

        Cheers,
        Ante

        • Son says:
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          You’re a maniac!!! It’s good that you are so involved.

          Lol, I have an RCL set up for $20. Come on in. With your level of activity, you would probably do really well.

          Of course I know Jackie Chan is from Hong Kong. Why did you think different? Did I write something that I forgot? I see you are a connoisseur or the Asian movies. Props.

          Thanks, galica. Most of my fam is in the states. There are a few still in Korea, but I haven’t talked to them in a while.

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