White Sox's Robert getting back in groove after hitting rookie wall
Just about every rookie struggles in some phase of the game early on. Luis Robert was a rare exception.
While drawing comparisons to all sorts of greats, Mike Trout included, Robert won American League Rookie of the Month honors right out of the gate while showing off his advanced tools.
The White Sox's 23-year-old center fielder cooled off noticeably through the first two weeks of September, but Robert is gradually coming back around.
When the short season started in late July and moved into August, Robert was seeing steady breaking pitches. He instantly adjusted and was hitting .298/.348/.612 with 10 home runs and 24 RBI through his first 33 games.
In his first 12 September games, Robert slashed .136/.235/.205 with 1 homer and 6 RBI.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder said he started seeing more fastballs and was slow to adjust.
Robert is feeling much more comfortable at the plate. He drew a 10-pitch walk in a key situation during Monday night's win over the Twins and came back with a 2-run single Tuesday.
"I've been working every day," Robert said. "I'm just trying to regroup and trying to get to the basics, to what made me have success for a few weeks in the past. I'm grinding, I'm working hard to get to that point again, and hopefully I'll be there pretty soon."
Nomar Mazara was back in the starting lineup Wednesday, but Adam Engel is making a strong case to get regular playing time in right field.
Mazara was hitting .223/.298/.272 through Tuesday's play and still looking for his first home run on the season.
Engel was hitting .306/.342/.444 with 2 home runs and 9 RBI.
Mazara is a left-handed hitter, but his average against right-handed pitchers was .217. Engel, a right-handed hitter, was batting .273 against rightys.
Engel is a also a better defensive player, giving him another reason to be in the lineup.
"I think we'll just continue to look at the matchups and what we can do in order to maximize what they're both able to offer," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "We're in a good place in terms of having the availability of quite a few pieces. It's a good problem to have, with so many of the options that are available to us."