Luis Robert is a finalist for the American League Rookie of the Year Award, right where most folks would have put him before the start of his rookie season.
Robert managed to accomplish what many thought he would, taking the league by storm as a human highlight reel of sorts. And because of it, he was among the three finalists for the award announced Monday by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, joined by Houston Astros pitcher Cristian Javier and Seattle Mariners outfielder Kyle Lewis.
With so much hype accompanying him on his way into the major leagues, Robert was pegged as a preseason favorite for the honor, and he lived up to that hype in his first month or so in the bigs. In his first 33 games, he boasted a .298/.348/.612 slash line to go along with 10 home runs, 24 RBIs and 22 runs scored. All the while, he flashed his jam-packed toolbox all over the field.
But his production fell off a cliff in the second half of his rookie season as big league pitchers adjusted. It was a wonder before the season even started whether Robert would have enough time in a 60-game campaign to make the adjustments necessary for any young player. That turned out to be a valid concern, as Robert couldn’t make a quick counter adjustment. He went 6-for-70 over a 20-game stretch in September before finally busting out with five hits in the final series of the regular season against the Cubs.
Robert, even after that month-long slump, had one more jaw-dropper in him, demolishing a 487-foot home run in Game 3 of the AL Wild Card Series in Oakland, which counted at the time as the second longest home run of 2020.
Robert might not have had the full-season numbers to match Lewis in the Rookie of the Year race, but this was a positive first year in the bigs for him and a positive step on the road to what many of his coaches and teammates predict will be superstardom.
The AL Rookie of the Year will be announced Nov. 9. Should Robert win the award, he’ll be the first White Sox rookie to do so since teammate José Abreu in 2014 and the seventh South Sider to do it all time.