White Sox

White Sox: David Robertson unleashes his repertoire

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White Sox: David Robertson unleashes his repertoire

David Robertson had the look of a $46 million closer Saturday afternoon.

The 30-year-old right-hander struck out the side to close out the White Sox first win of the season, a 5-4 victory over Minnesota. But the way Robertson worked the Twins served as a reminder of why the White Sox shelled out a pricey four-year deal to him over the winter.

[MORE: New faces rally White Sox to win over Twins]

Robertson needed only 15 pitches to blow through the back of the Twins’ order, generating seven swinging strikes against Chris Herrmann, Shane Robinson and Jordan Schafer. He threw eight curveballs and seven cutters, and mixed those pitches well:

(Graph via BrooksBaseball.net)

In alternating between his looping mid-80’s curveball and sharp mid-90’s cutter, Robertson was able to expand the strike zone by changing the eye level of Twins hitters. Having the late shadows on his side certainly helped, too.

[MORE: Carlos Rodon strikes out nine in season debut]

By starting his curveball high and having it drop into the lower third of the strike zone or out of the strike zone, those high cutters turned out to be nearly impossible to hit.

“It’s misleading on (hitters) whenever they see the ball coming out of your hand,” Robertson said. “They can’t tell exactly where it’s going to be in the strike zone or if it’s going to be in the strike zone at all.”

(Graph via BrooksBaseball.net)

“I’ve tried to hit (him) before and it’s pretty challenging,” catcher Tyler Flowers said. “I think what really sets it up is the ability to throw the cutter to both sides of the plate and especially elevating the cutter. He does a really good job of that. That plays to the curveball of them trying to chase it. It also plays to after the curveball, the hesitation on the cutter up and guys being tardy on that.”

Robertson’s spring training numbers weren’t good — an 8.10 ERA with four strikeouts, five walks and two home runs allowed in 6 2/3 innings — but he never was concerned. The longtime Yankees reliever didn’t throw many curveballs in Cactus League games, deciding to not tax his arm with a pitch he didn’t feel the need to show much.

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But in his first save opportunity with the White Sox, Robertson’s full arsenal was on display — and Minnesota couldn’t do anything with it.

“The only concern was everybody else here who was like wow, you stink, it’s spring and you can’t get anybody out,” Robertson said with a grin. “… I just needed to get out of Arizona and get into an atmosphere that actually counted.”

After short stint in the majors, White Sox send Zack Collins to Triple-A

After short stint in the majors, White Sox send Zack Collins to Triple-A

When general manager Rick Hahn has talked about bringing up key prospects, he says he wants those players to be able to come up to the majors and stay there. That won't be the case with Zack Collins.

The White Sox sent the catcher down to Triple-A Charlotte following Monday's 5-2 loss to the Royals. No corresponding move will be made until Tuesday, but it is expected Welington Castillo will return from his rehab stint and rejoin the White Sox.

Collins was called up on June 18, but only played in nine games with seven starts in his 28 days on the big league roster. Collins drew a pinch-hit walk in his first plate appearance at the Cubs on June 19. He then homered two days later in his first start in Texas.

After that, Collins struggled. He goes back to Charlotte after hitting .077 (2-for-26) with five walks, the one home run and 14 strikeouts in 31 plate appearances.

It's unclear if Collins had a chance to stick on the roster or if the plan was for him to go back to Triple-A once Castillo was ready to return. Collins certainly didn't do himself any favors at the plate, but he also didn't see regular playing time.

Collins, a first-round pick in 2016, was seen working out at first base in fielding practice before games, but he stuck to catcher and DH. He could have played some first base or DH when Castillo returned. However, the White Sox claimed A.J. Reed off waivers and he debuted after the all-star break. Reed has taken the at-bats at DH, leaving Collins without regular at-bats.

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White Sox prospect Luis Robert on fire fresh off promotion to Triple-A

White Sox prospect Luis Robert on fire fresh off promotion to Triple-A

Luis Robert has been promoted twice in 2019, but nothing has slowed down his red-hot season.

The 21-year-old Cuban has only played in five games for Triple-A Charlotte, but has skipped past the adjustment period and has been productive in all five.

After collecting two hits, a walk and two stolen bases on Monday, Robert is hitting .429/.500/.810 for the Knights. He has reached base at least twice in every game with Charlotte.

Robert has shown some versatility in his game as well. He hit four extra base hits in his first three games, including two home runs in his first game for Charlotte. In the last two he has added three stolen bases. One of the stolen bases on Monday didn’t require a slide.


With Eloy Jimenez coming into his own for the White Sox and Dylan Cease one start into his major league career, Luis Robert is the clear gem of the White Sox system currently. The outfielder is ranked as the No. 5 prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline.

Charlotte’s BB&T Ballpark is known as a hitters’ park and Triple-A plays with the same baseballs that have been under fire lately for being juiced for hitters in the majors. It makes sense that Robert would put up big numbers, but it’s still an impressive start that has White Sox fans antsy for his call-up.

It’s just five games and the White Sox haven’t been in any rush with their top prospects, but Robert is showing that he isn’t that far away from being ready for MLB pitching.

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