MLB: White Sox sign Cuban OF prospect Robert
The White Sox on Saturday announced the signing of international free agent Luis Robert, who will be introduced today at a 11:30 a.m. CT press conference at Guaranteed Rate Field. You can watch it live here on MLB.com and whitesox.com.
Robert, a 19-year-old from Cuba, is the No. 1 international free agent, according to MLBPipeline.com, and he will be yet another piece in the club's ongoing rebuilding effort.
While other top prospects have been acquired via trade, Robert marks the first significant financial investment during the process, as the two sides agreed on a $27 million deal. It is the second-highest bonus for an international amateur under the current signing guidelines. Yoan Moncada, Robert's Cuban countryman and now teammate within the White Sox organization, set the record through his $31.5 million deal with the Red Sox in 2015.
This signing continues the franchise's long and storied Cuban connection, including the great Minnie Minoso, pitchers Jose Contreras and Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez from the 2005 World Series champions, shortstop Alexei Ramirez, outfielder Dayan Viciedo and current first baseman Jose Abreu.
Abreu agreed to terms on a six-year, $68 million deal prior to the 2014 campaign, although he opted into arbitration prior to the '17 season and is currently earning $10.825 million.
At 19, Robert is considered to have five-tool talent and figures to begin his Minor League career in Arizona before moving to Class A Kannapolis. In a recent MLBPipeline.com Inbox, Jonathan Mayo indicated Robert would be in the conversation for the top pick in the 2017 MLB Draft if he were eligible, and Robert would enter the Top 100 Prospect list in the Top 30 -- and possibly the Top 25.
According to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez, one American League international scouting director described Robert as "the best player on the planet."
If things pan out in the next few years, the White Sox could feature up-the-middle strength of Zack Collins at catcher, Moncada at second, Tim Anderson at shortstop and Robert in center. Robert joins other top prospects such as right-handed hurlers Michael Kopech, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Zack Burdi, Carson Fulmer and Dane Dunning, to name a few.
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