The White Sox would like to plug another top Cuban prospect into their farm system and indications are they are willing to open the checkbook for 19-year-old center fielder Luis Robert.
Other teams are also clamoring for the fleet power hitter, who held private workouts for the Sox, Cardinals and Padres last week in the Dominican Republic. The Reds, A’s and Astros also are interested.
“I expect there will be robust bidding on this player,’’ said general manager Rick Hahn, who attended the workout with vice president Ken Williams.
It was Williams who scouted Cuban slugger Jose Abreu before the Sox wooed him with a six-year, $68 million deal in 2013, their biggest contract ever. And the Sox acquired Cuban second baseman Yoan Moncada with three other prospects from the Red Sox for Chris Sale last winter. Adding Robert up the middle would be another big score for the rebuilding plan.
Hahn remained coy, but said, “I’m always optimistic. It’s much easier to go about life that way.
“But look, it’s going to be robust bidding and we’ll see how it unfolds in the coming weeks.’’
Were he rated among baseball’s top prospects, Robert would be a top-25 player. He’s 6-3, runs well, hits for power and excels in center.
“He’s an extremely talented young man who is going to have an impact on whatever organization he winds up joining,’’ Hahn said.
Moncada, 21, meanwhile, continues to make a huge impact in the minors, but Hahn made it clear Sox fans need to be patient.
“It’s not in the long-term interest of Yoan Moncada or the club’’ to call him up now, he said.
There is nothing about Moncada’s work ethic or character that is slowing the process, however, Hahn said.
“He does have that special star-caliber makeup where he is willing to pay the price to be great,’’ Hahn said. “The tools are obviously off the chart, but seeing him on a daily basis you get to appreciate how special of an individual he is as well, and therefore is in a position to maximize those tools and reach his ceiling.’’
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