Yoan Moncada says Luis Robert is ready; White Sox GM says he’s still working on things
Moncada was batting .301/.358/.535 with 20 home runs, 21 doubles and 59 RBI in 97 games when he went on the injured list Aug. 1.
White Sox third baseman Yoan Moncada, who was reinstated from the injured list before the team opened its four-game series Thursday against the Rangers at Guaranteed Rate Field, got his first look since spring training at top center-field prospect and fellow Cuban Luis Robert while on his just-completed rehabilitation assignment at Class AAA Charlotte.
“He’s talented, and we’re all seeing that,” Moncada said. “I think he’s ready. I think he’s ready for this level.”
That seems to be the general consensus, but there’s a good chance Robert, 22, doesn’t wear a Sox uniform until next season. General manager Rick Hahn would only say no decisions have been made on the September call-up list, even though Robert — named Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year — was hitting .336/.388/.634 with 29 home runs, 30 doubles, 10 triples, 85 RBI, 102 runs and 36 stolen bases in 111 games this season between Class A Winston-Salem, Class AA Birmingham and Charlotte.
“He’s doing fantastic,’’ Hahn said. ‘‘Obviously you’ve seen the numbers. There are certainly some elements of his game that they’re still fine-tuning, they’re still working on.”
Those things could be worked on in the majors, but holding Robert back delays the start on his service-time clock. If they call him up this season, the Sox have Robert under contract control through 2025. If they wait till mid-April of next year, they get another year of control.
“It’s about what’s best for the long-term health of the organization,” Hahn said.
“[But in the end], player development is fundamentally a baseball decision about putting a player in the best position to succeed, and that’s what will carry the day with any decision to promote a player.”
Robert, as Hahn said, has exceeded what “we would have considered an outstanding season” by zooming through three levels. Succeeding at Birmingham would have been considered a success, Hahn said.
Moncada, Jose Abreu and almost everyone else on the team, coaching staff included, would love to have seen Robert reach the fourth and highest level with them weeks ago.
“He’s having a terrific season,” Moncada said. “But he still needs to do the things that the team wants him to do.”
Jimenez out of lineup
Eloy Jimenez was scratched from the lineup with a sore right hip flexor. Hahn said Jimenez, who took batting practice, could be back Friday.
Manager Rick Renteria said “an abundance of caution” was taken with the Sox’ prized rookie left fielder.
Kopech on target
The Sox’ top pitching prospect, right-hander Michael Kopech, had a recent follow-up with Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed his Tommy John surgery last September, and remains on track to enter spring training without restrictions, Hahn said.
“He’s going to finish up his throwing program over the course of the next several weeks and then enter the offseason without restrictions like any other pitcher,’’ Hahn said.
“And we expect him to have a normal offseason.”