Renteria on White Sox prospect Luis Robert: He's a pretty impressive specimen
As he neared the end of his first season as Chicago White Sox manager, Rick Renteria was looking forward to a little down time.
But as the Sox headed into the final week of the schedule, Renteria was also looking forward to watching prospects play in the instructional league and the Dominican Republic.
"I'm trying to connect with all the players and the staff," Renteria said in late September. "I think it's really important, foundationally speaking, when you're talking about the instructional league and/or the Dominican, that's where it all starts. You want them to understand and know that we have an eye on what's going on there in terms of caring."
Renteria was on hand in Arizona to watch White Sox players in the instructional league, and he also traveled to the Dominican Republic to see more prospects.
Renteria was particularly impressed with 20-year-old outfielder Luis Robert, who he watched in the Dominican.
"He's a pretty impressive specimen," Renteria told reporters Tuesday at the winter meetings. "He looks, listen, this kid can fly. I saw him run down to first, I think it was like 3.56 (seconds) after a full swing on a groundball. He ran down a ball in center, right-center field, effortlessly. He hit a ball against the wind and a gust to center, left-center field, that I thought had no chance and it ended up going over the trees."
A 6-foot-3, 185-pounder, Robert joined the Sox in late May after agreeing to a $26 million signing bonus.
In 28 games with the Dominican Summer League White Sox, Robert posted a .310/.491/.536 hitting line with 8 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs, 14 RBI and 12 stolen bases.
Robert is expected to open the 2018 season with low Class A Kannapolis or high A Winston-Salem.
"Watching his work, he's obviously a little bit more mature," Renteria said. "From what I can gather, he's quiet, very attentive to everything that you're conversing about. Right now, it's just a matter of getting himself to the States, starting to play against other competition, start to get a feel for what's going on here, the level of play that he's going to be hopefully participating in this coming summer, and see where he can chip away at what he needs to improve upon.
"He's still a young, very young player. I'm sure there are a lot of aspects of his game that he's going to have to improve upon."