Luis Robert catches Rick Renteria’s attention

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Cuban outfielder Luis Robert smiles at a news conferences after signing with the White Sox. (AP)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Manager Rick Renteria got his eyes on White Sox outfield prospect Luis Robert and liked what he saw.

In fact, Renteria gushed about the $26 million Cuban prospect’s ability during his media session at the Winter Meetings Tuesday. He raved about his power, speed and fluidity.

“I saw Robert, he’s a pretty impressive specimen,” said Renteria, who watched Robert (pronounced “Robber) play four games in the Dominican Instructional League at the White Sox Academy in November. “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 ground ball.

“He ran down a ball in center, right-center field effortlessly. He hit a ball against the wind and a gust in the center, left-center field that I thought had no chance and it ended up going over the trees.”

Renteria raved about the physical difference he saw in a number of maturing young international players from last year to this, including outfielder Micker Adolfo.

“We have a lot of young men in the organization right now that are starting to grow up and come into their own both physically and emotionally,” Renteria said. “We’re moving in the right direction.”

Robert, 20, is expected to play his 2018 season at Class A Kannapolis or high-A Winston-Salem. He was slowed by ankle and knee injuries but produced a .310/.491/.536 hitting line with 12 extra-base hits in 28 games in the Dominican Summer League.

“From what I can gather, he’s quiet and very attentive to everything you’re conversing about,” Renteria said. “He has a way of being a part of the rest of the group that were there. Right now it’s just a matter of getting himself to the States, starting to play against other competition, starting 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 very young player. I’m sure there are a lot of aspects of his game that he’s going to have to improve upon.”

Robert is expected to participate in major league camp at spring training in two months.

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