Hands down, my favorite part of spring training is getting to see all the highly regarded prospects we otherwise don't get to see during the regular season. The kids get a chance to strut their stuff early in camp before heading to the minors for the summer.
First of all, wow that was a capital-H Hanger. Terrible pitch. Secondly, I see a little Matt Kemp in Robert's swing. I know Kemp is kind of a punchline now, but that dude hit .297/.355/.504 (130 OPS+) from ages 22-27. The ChiSox would sign up for that in a heartbeat.
Robert defected from Cuba last January and the White Sox signed him in May. They gave him a $26 million signing bonus, second largest ever for an international player behind the $31 million the Boston Red Sox gave Yoan Moncada, Moncada, coincidentally enough, is now with the White Sox.
MLB.com ranked Robert as the 28th best prospect in baseball a few weeks ago. Here's a snippet of their scouting report:
Moncada has the advantages of being a switch-hitter and an infielder, but otherwise Robert is quite similar to him. A right-handed hitter, he has a lightning-fast bat with well above-average raw power and speed to match. He also comes with some swing-and-miss concerns, though he mitigates them somewhat with his willingness to take walks ... Considered more of a solid runner while in Cuba, Robert got faster after defecting and posted sub-6.3 second 60-yard dashes while trying out for teams.
Last summer Robert hit .310/.491/.536 with three home runs and nearly as many walks (22) as strikeouts (23) in 28 rookie ball games. Now that he has the lay of the land, he could really take off and become one of baseball's truly elite prospects in 2018.