A New Nemesis Has Joined the AL Central
Image courtesy of © Matt Marton-USA TODAY SportsFor years, the Minnesota Twins were haunted by Detroit Tigers corner infielder, Miguel Cabrera. Over his career, Miguel has posted a .313 batting average with an OPS of .944 against the Minnesota Twins. Cabrera seemed to put that fear of God into you that comes from truly the best players. He gave you that awful feeling where every time he stepped up to the plate you just knew that he was going to rip your soul out of your chest. Fortunately for the Twins, Miggy has reached the point where he is past his prime, and Twins fans can finally breathe a little easier when he steps up to the plate.
But just when the Twins thought they had gotten past that “fear of God”-type player in the AL Central with Miguel Cabrera, a new nemesis entered the fold over the weekend, and this one has two first names.
Luis Robert came into the 2020 season as one of the most highly touted prospects we have had in a while. Robert is a classic 5-tool center fielder who can hit, run, and defend. Standing 6-foot-2 at 210 pounds, Robert entered the season already looking like a seasoned Major Leaguer, despite being only 22 years old. The Chicago White Sox were so confident in Robert’s skills that they signed him to a massive 6-year, $50M contract before he had even played an inning in the big leagues.
We have plenty of history, though, of highly touted prospects who have flamed out upon entering the Majors. Recent American League names like Tim Beckham and Dustin Ackley have shown that just because you are highly touted doesn’t mean that it will translate to Major League success. How Robert looked in the opening series against the Minnesota Twins would be telling for just how dominant he could be for the Sox in the years to come.
Robert filled up the stat sheet in his opening series with the Chicago White Sox. In 12 plate appearances against the Minnesota Twins, Robert went 4-for-11 (.364) with a walk, a double, and a towering 419-foot home run. Robert recorded a hit in each game of the three-game series and looked every bit the part of a top prospect.
When digging into the advanced numbers though, Robert’s 2020 series debut gets even more impressive.
In Luis Robert’s first major league at-bat, Robert recorded a single. While a single doesn’t seem to be too impressive, the hit was recorded with an exit velocity of 115.8 MPH, registering as a barrel. In 2019, only 18 different batters recorded a hit of at least 115.8 MPH. Robert reached that milestone on his very first hit in the Majors. Below is the 115.8 MPH laser:
Fast forward to the 8th inning of the same game, when Robert recorded his second career hit, a double off of Twins’ reliever, Cody Stashak. Robert took a high fastball to the opposite field with an exit velocity of 103.5, showing more big-boy power.
Two days later in the series finale, Luis Robert recorded his first home run as a Major Leaguer. Robert took a first pitch changeup off of Kenta Maeda and launched it 419 feet into the center field bleachers of Guaranteed Rate Field. Robert’s first homer was recorded as a barrel with an exit velocity of 111.4 MPH.
Over the first five games of his career, Robert owns an average exit velocity of 93.9 MPH, with a 62.5 hard hit % and 2 barrels. While every article quoting stats through three games needs to be prefaced with “extremely, extremely small sample”, it only took three games for Luis Robert to flash his potential as an all-world hitter and put a knot in the stomach of Twins pitchers for years to come.
The Chicago White Sox have oodles of young potential, and while they may or not put it all together in the 2020 season, it’s apparent that they will be a force for years to come. That begins and ends with Luis Robert.
What were your first impressions of Luis Robert? How scared are you to have to face him in the AL Central for the next 6+ seasons? Leave a comment below and start the conversation!
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