White Sox

Abreu knows Robert is just getting started: 'He can do more'

/ by Vinnie Duber
Sponsored By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
White Sox

Quite literally, this is only the beginning for Luis Robert. As many eye-popping moments as he's turned in during his time in a White Sox uniform, he's played in all of 33 major league games.

After his second straight game of late-inning heroics Monday night, it might seem like Robert's arrived. A day after hitting a walk-off home run to beat the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, he crushed a game-tying home run in the seventh inning against the Minnesota Twins and drove in the go-ahead run with a ground-rule double in the ninth.

He went into Tuesday night's game in Minneapolis with a .298/.348/.612 slash line to go along with his 10 home runs.

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When White Sox fans see Robert step to the plate, they see an electrifying present. When José Abreu sees Robert, though, all he can think about is an even more electrifying future.

"When I see him doing what he does, I just think that he can do more," Abreu said Tuesday through team interpreter Billy Russo. "He has that kind of talent that he can do more. He likes to work, he's working hard every day. He's learning. The season is progressing, and he's been learning every day, every game, about how to do things in the majors, how he can take advantage of his talent.

"I think that he can do more because of the amount of talent that he has, and he's working on that. I will never, ever be satisfied with how good things go with him. I'm always going to ask for more from him because that's just who I am. I'm going to push him to do better every single day, and I'm going to guide him to do that."

 

Abreu's been the most vocal advocate for how good Robert, Eloy Jiménez and Yoán Moncada will one day be. Their talent was the reason he gave so many times for his desire to stay with the White Sox before he, briefly, hit free agency at the end of last season.

Now he's seeing it in action, and his faith has more than paid off. After six sub-.500 campaigns in a White Sox uniform, Abreu's smack dab in the middle of things on a first-place team.

He's having his own huge season, a true AL MVP candidate, and he delivered his own clutch knock Monday night, driving in two runs with a two-out double to tie the score in the sixth.

Then Robert one-upped him with game-tying and game-winning RBIs in back-to-back trips to the plate in the late innings.

"Great players are always going to get those opportunities to produce and do great things. That's because that's what makes them great players," Abreu said. "As we said in Cuba, you have to be prepared for everything and you have to deliver when the moment arises, you have to rise to that moment, too. And with him, he has this special talent where he makes things look way easier than they are, and that's something that very good players can do.

"In those moments when he does good things for the team — like in the last couple of games when he has done very good things for the team, delivering in the most important moments — it's because he controls the game. The talent that he has, he knows what he has to do in those situations."

Robert's the latest uber-prospect to join the José Abreu Mentorship Program, so it should be no surprise to see him adopt, or already display, the things Moncada and Jiménez did before him. Abreu has been lauded as a hard-worker and for his dedication to preparation. And because of it, he's become one of the most consistently productive hitters in baseball.

Apply that to Robert and his immense, five-tool talent, and you get excellence, consistently.

And according to Abreu and the rest of the White Sox, we haven't even seen how excellent Robert can be yet.

"I know he's doing a lot of really good stuff, great moments, but when it all comes together and it clicks? Let me put it to you this way, you guys will know it," manager Rick Renteria said Tuesday. "Right now you're seeing a lot of special stuff, but you'll know it. There's a lot there. He's just scratching (the surface) a little bit right now.

 

"Once he hits his full stride? He's already something to see. There's a lot more there."

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