Luis Robert is the White Sox center fielder. But don't think for a second that means he's going to stay in center field.
Robert counts excellent range and a strong glove among his innumerable tools that have made him such a hyped prospect. And his style has been on display since the White Sox started "Summer Camp" at the beginning of the month.
The best way to sum up that style? "I catch all the fly balls now."
Indeed, Robert's range allows him to track down fly balls hit all over the outfield, and Robert's take-charge style is a plus in an outfield that, when at full strength, has Eloy Jiménez and Nomar Mazara in the corners, two guys who do better work with their bats than with their gloves.
But Robert took things to a new extreme Tuesday night. Cleveland Indians third baseman José Ramírez lifted a routine fly ball to right field, and Leury García camped under it — only to watch that out get stolen away from him as Robert drifted all the way from his position in center to make the catch.
Luis Robert out here playing all three outfield positions pic.twitter.com/uUoqM93nhS— White Sox Talk (@NBCSWhiteSox) July 29, 2020
Now this might strike as not what you're supposed to be doing. But as long as Robert keeps the communication up — whether he did on this play, considering how surprised Garcia appeared to be, is questionable — the White Sox are totally fine with Robert running all over the outfield.
"You don’t want to tame that tiger. You want to let him go," White Sox bench coach Joe McEwing said Tuesday. "We want him to go after everything.
"We did pop-up communications drills probably three or four times during spring training because of the fact that he can cover so much ground and he wants to catch everything. So we emphasized pop-up communication and make sure we are loud, make sure we are calling it. With no fans in the stands, it helps right now. But when we do get the fans back, we are going to have to be louder and louder so we don’t put anybody in harm’s way.
"It’s a gift and a curse. He can go line to line. ... A routine ball to right field, I’m looking, and all I see is Luis come out of the corner of my eye and it’s like, 'Wow!'"
So expect to see some more plays like this one as Robert's rookie season moves along.