Luis Robert's pretty good at baseball.
That's not the concern.
Monday during workouts at Guaranteed Rate Field, he showed off a sampling of that jam-packed toolbox of his, tracking down fly balls in the outfield, loping around the bases and smoking a Dylan Cease pitch to the center-field warning track in live batting practice.
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"The biggest thing is just how big he is," Cease said of the encounter afterward. "I think I saw that on Twitter someone tweeted an Under Armour mannequin, and it's actually pretty accurate. That's what he looks like.
"He squared me up good on one of them today, and he looks like he's going to be a very talented player."
But even the best struggle when seeing major league pitching for the first time. Ask Mike Trout. While you're at it, ask Eloy Jiménez, who's so confident in Robert's talent that he called him "the next Mike Trout" back in January.
With Robert's rookie season squeezed down to 60 games in a two-month sprint to the postseason, there won't be time for Robert to make the same kinds of adjustments Jiménez had to make last season, when he started a much anticipated rookie season slowly, only to catch fire by September.
Even though he's never seen a big league pitch, Robert is not short on confidence, putting him in the same category as many of his fellow White Sox youngsters. Jiménez, Michael Kopech, Lucas Giolito, Tim Anderson, they've all made their fair share of comments that reflect the belief in their ability and the bright future coming to the South Side.
Add Robert to the list.
"If, for whatever reason, I don’t start the season as hot as I know I can, I will do my best to make the adjustments as fast as I can," Robert said Monday through team interpreter Billy Russo. "But of course that’s not my mindset right now.
"I’m pretty sure I’m going to be able to start the season pretty hot and display all my talent. I will have to adjust as much as I can if I have any trouble."
That's what White Sox fans want to hear.
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They're more jazzed for Robert's big league debut than they were for the arrival of any top prospect in recent memory, including Jiménez, Kopech and Yoán Moncada. The hype around Robert is massive after he thrilled fans in the minor leagues last season with a dazzling combination of tape-measure home runs, blazing speed and highlight-reel catches in center field. Evaluators are calling him potentially the best of the White Sox collection of young talent. His name has been mentioned frequently in the preseason Rookie of the Year discussion. White Sox fans are thinking Robert is a superstar in the making.
"I see or hear all of that stuff," Robert said. "I try to not pay attention to that. I know what I can do, and sometimes if you hear all that stuff, you’re going to have more pressure on you. And that might not be good for you because there is more. It’s good if people say that, but I just try to not pay too much attention to it.
"My expectations and goals are always the same. Give 100 percent, always, on the field, help the team as much as I can and hopefully go to the postseason. And if I’m lucky enough, maybe win the Rookie of the Year. Those are my goals, and if I stay healthy I feel confident I can do that."
Robert's arrival is part of why the White Sox postseason expectations are looking rather realistic, one of a number of additions that has this roster looking capable of competing right alongside the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians for the AL Central crown.
But obviously, the White Sox are prioritizing a decade's worth of dominance over one strong rookie season. Robert got a big-money contract during the offseason that keeps him in a White Sox uniform through the 2027 campaign, should the team decide to pick up both the options at the end of the deal.
It seems the calendar could work against Robert this year, not allowing him time to adjust and come out the other end of any potential struggles the way Jiménez did in 2019. But if he's good as everyone says he is, maybe the number of games won't matter.
If that's the case, then the only relief pitchers will have is that they were freed from 102 more games of his torment.
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