First impressions of Luis Robert consistent with hype

Highly touted Cuban prospect is leaning heavily on Yoan Moncada during introduction to stateside baseball

We all acknowledged that Luis Robert was going to be the biggest story of the White Sox’ minicamp for hitters, so it stands to reason that we should see what’s actually coming of it.

Jose Abreu : Yoan Moncada :: Yoan Moncada : Luis Robert

Having just experienced the most jarring parts of the sudden shift from local Cuban pro to MLB prospect who’s incredibly wealthy and just as hyped, Moncada has taken it upon himself to show Robert the ropes.

How close are they? It would be easier to list out the elements of Robert’s transition to the United States that Moncada is not overseeing.

“He’s the one who is picking me up in the morning, driving me to the ballpark, guiding me through the complex, during the workout,” Robert said through Russo. “If we have to hit, or if we have to go to the gym, or if we have to eat breakfast, he’s the one who is telling me what we have to do. When we’re driving, he’s always talking to me about things that I need to learn and I need to do during this experience here in the U.S. and during the season, my first one. Absolutely I’m just excited to ask them, not just Yoan but also Abreu for advice and just grasp whatever they have for me.”

Hey, they go back a long way:

James Fegan notes similarities between the two beyond their common homeland, like selfie-centered Instagram accounts belying a reticence that’s a natural byproduct of needing everything in a new country translated. One thing that might make Robert’s transition a little easier than the others? His parents and sister joined him in the Dominican Republic.

The talent is evident

Eric Longenhagen hung out at the White Sox’ minicamp on Tuesday, and Josh asked him about what he saw:

Josh Nelson: Saw your tweet from the White Sox hitters camp. Who impresses you the most from that group?

Eric A Longenhagen: It was Robert and it wasn’t close. Hit balls out to all fields during BP, more raw pop than anyone else taking BP on that field including Burger and Sheets

That looks like the lone third-party observation of Robert so far, and it lines up with the way various White Sox personnel have reacted. Winston-Salem hitting coach Charlie Poe — who might be working with Robert come April — came away impressed by Robert’s abilities. Allen Thomas, the White Sox’ strength and conditioning coordinator, might not need to work with him ever (“He’s chiseled.”)

Then there’s Robert’s peers. Zack Collins called Robert’s swing “pretty great,” and Yeyson Yrizarri provided the commentary for his batting practice:

He faces an uphill battle with his surname

During his introductory press conference, Robert said that he and everybody in Cuba pronounces his last name without the last letter, as in “Robber,” but acknowledged the predominant pronunciation outside the country brings the “t” back in (and I’m guilty of that).

This might end up being an Alexei Ramirez situation — everybody said Alex-ee, he said Alice-Say — because his closest reps aren’t helping.

The other big part of minicamp

Besides Robert’s landing, health updates are the most valuable part of the spring training sneak preview.

With Charlie Tilson experiencing no setbacks — yet — from regular action during the second half of the Arizona Fall League, Ryan Cordell took over as the organization’s biggest mystery man in terms of his availability. He’s feasibly a candidate for a fourth outfielder/utility job at some point in the 2018 season, but back problems kept him from ever playing in 2017 after the White Sox acquired him from Milwaukee for Anthony Swarzak.

We should see more of him, even if that’s not saying much.

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
Default image
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

Articles: 3544
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Maybe it’ll go back to being pronounced ‘robber’ after he gets up to the majors and starts stealing bases and base hits.


So impressed with Yoan.

Irrational exuberance for Robert is currently impossible for me to avoid. Every person that sees him comes back saying he has more of a certain tool (now heard speed, power and arm) than they thought.


Green grass, sunshine, crack of the bat. LOVE IT


That’s baseball, baby!


Jim (and/or Josh), any plans on covering possible OF permutations to start the year at Kann, W-S and Birmingham? (in article or on the Pod)

Looking over OF prospects, things look crowded. Not sure how they keep someone from losing out.


I’ll be there in a little over a month. Can’t wait. Does anyone know how to find out when the minor leaguers play actual games.

Lurker Laura

Me likey.
When does baseball start?????
(Rhetorical question, so don’t you all start posting “pitchers and catchers report on…”)

Patrick Nolan

I’m still on team roh-BEAR, but sadly accept that Luis and his family must have final say.


This is how I’ve been saying it in my head too


First time I saw it I thought it was that too. The real question is what’ll his nickname be



oh no

Patrick Nolan

“Lu-Bob” has been making the rounds.


In the spirit of the Missile and Tank, the ICBM. It’s fast, packs a wallop, and has incredible range


Yes! That’s what he reminds me of. A Ro-Bear Berbil. Now maybe I’ll finish that SHOP TALK comparing White Sox to Thundercats. I was stuck on Benetti as Snarf.


comment image


Benetti so is Snarf. How have I never seen it before?


That’s the french pronunciation


Eager to see how Len Kasper intentionally butchers Robert’s name.

Patrick Nolan

Is he known for that?


Alex “Ah-vill-la” springs to mind

Right Size Wrong Shape

I think that’s how it’s actually pronounced.  I heard him discussing this in a radio interview; when his grandfather played they pronounced it that way (correctly), but at some point people started mispronouncing it.


Ávila is a beautiful medieval walled city in central Spain, about 100 miles northwest of Madrid. The last name comes from the city and should be pronounced with the accent on the first “a” and not on the “i” as it’s usually mispronounced over there.

Just like Pujols, which is a surname of Catalan origins and should be pronounced “pooyols”, with the accent on the last syllable, and not “pooholes”, with the accent on the first one, as I have always heard it.

Just my meaningless 2 cents as Spaniard…



Patrick Nolan

Dan Hayes to @TheAthleticMIN. DER TWAINNNNN


Dan Hayes was a little too “gosh and golly” for my taste, but I’m glad that he landed on his feet.

lil jimmy

Yep, Glad he’s working. Glad he’s not here.

He’s no Jen Lada, that’s for sure.






But the real question is, do the Twins have a Dan/ny Hayes anywhere in their system? I think it’s the only way he’ll feel at home.


If it will shoot out fireworks then let’s do it.

Patrick Nolan

The thematic fit is questionable but why the hell not.


Just get Shedd to slap a sign near it.

Trooper Galactus

Might make more sense for the Bears, if only because of the closer proximity.


Having a good look at it, I think it goes on the concourse and retrofitted into the world’s most glorious skeeball machine. $1 a ball. Just imagine the lines.


I could loop the video at the top for a good hour just for the sound.


Finally had the time to find you all. It’s been a tough couple of weeks without my morning read. Glad no one has been piked!


The debate over pronouncing Robert with “the hard t” or without the “hard t” doesn’t quite capture the issue here.  To say “Robber” is to pronounce a Spanish* name in sloppy Anglo-American English dialect. Without the trilled Rs, I would think that would sound terrible to a Spanish speaker.  (Two local streets are Arguello and Cabrillo, pronounced “arguelo” and “cabrilo” and it drives me nuts.)

I’m guessing the confusion comes in because the trilled R sounds a bit like Rober-with-a-t at the end and that creates some of the discrepancy where his uncle says to pronounce the T but Luis says don’t pronounce it?

My solution:  learn how to trill your damn r’s, people.


*I mean, by convention, because Cuban society is Spanish speaking. I don’t know the etymology.


at least you can say “Kin – tana” instead of “Kwin – tana”


I remember a lot of people saying Javier Vaz-kwez.

Right Size Wrong Shape

My grandpa used to extol the virtues of “tor-till-ee-a” chips.

mechanical turk

If not for Samardzija taking up all the nautical puns, we could have had Quintanamo Bay as his fan section and everyone there could have worn masks of Quint from Jaws.

Patrick Nolan

I still wish there could have been the “Quintana No-Decision Zone” for people who can’t decide where to sit.

Trooper Galactus

Nah…Quintana beats the Shark any day.


So a Cuban friend of mine put it very simply,


It’s “Roberto” without the last “o” (still roll the first R though).


If the biggest problem with Robert is how to pronounce his name, then he should be a heck of a player.