Luis Robert has so much hype surrounding him that you will likely see dozens of reports on him until he finally inks a major league contract.
Many teams are interested in the young man, and indications are his value could only increase as we get closer to the first day he may sign (May 20) a contract with a major league franchise.
The San Diego Padres are very interested in Robert. We already know that.
Reports came out yesterday that the team will have a private workout with the outfielder in the Dominican Republic on Friday (Now moved to next Tuesday). It is not known exactly what the workout will entail, but the Padres will get an up close look at this Cuban youngster. A.J. Preller is supposed to be in attendance with many top Padres’ personnel.
The fact that the team is pursuing a private workout means that they want to really get to know this youngster. They know what he is capable of on the field, but the staff wants to know what type of person he is. What motivates this young man? What are his long-term goals in the game of baseball?
The six foot-two inch, right-handed hitter has tremendous power, and is very close to being a five-tool talent. He will command a lot of money. In fact, some people think he will get close to what Yoan Moncada received from the Boston Red Sox two signing periods ago. Moncada signed for $31.5 million dollars. The Red Sox were over their spending limit at the time, so they paid double for his services.
The Padres are presently over their limit, with somewhere around $70-80 million dollars spent on young talent since the period opened on July 2. If Robert gets near the $30 million that Moncada received, that would cost the Padres somewhere around $60 million dollars–a very hefty sum for a player who has never had professional at bats outside of the Cuban League.
Sources: The Padres will have a private workout for Luis Robert in the Dominican tomorrow.
— Dennis Lin (@sdutdennislin) April 28, 2017
A.J. Preller is rolling the dice by revamping the Padres’ farm system in a big way. He is subscribing to the notion that more depth eliminates the possibility for failure. It remains to be seen if all the Padres’ prospects, or most of them, will pan out. But so far, so good. Most of the young players are currently progressing in the lower divisions of the system, but they still need a lot more time to truly become relevant prospects in the game.
The Padres’ minor league system is top-5 in the league presently, but most of the talent is very young. There is increased potential for failure with these younger prospects, but at the same time, their growth is truly unknown as they are still learning themselves as players. Preller has surrounded himself with high-ceiling players in hopes that the majority will develop into relevant players.
Take a look at this video of Robert. The swing is there and he carries himself very well in the interview part of the video.
The young outfielder will reportedly slide right into the top-50 MLB rankings, and I have even seen some reports putting him much higher. He has that type of ceiling.
A.J. Preller knows the talent Robert possesses. There are reports his hit tool and throwing tool are average currently. There is room to grow with this youngster, but at his age, the need for growth is entirely normal. He presently has gap power to all fields, with decent pop in his bat. There is some swing and miss to his game, but scouts believe he can shorten his swing and be productive in the middle of a lineup. His speed is excellent as he was clocked at 6.15 in the 60-yard dash. The young Cuban has yet to really transition that speed into a consistent stolen base threat, but again, he does need some refinement to his game. Defensively, he is excellent, with the ability to play center field at the next level. His lack of arm strength is more than made up for by his elite closing speed in the gaps, tracking down balls.
The Padres are not the only suitor for this young man. In recent days, the Athletics, Reds, and Astros have had workouts with him. Besides those three teams, the Cardinals and White Sox are also said to be seriously interested in Luis Robert. In his last season in Cuba, he recorded a .401/.526/.687 batting line in 232 plate appearances. He also slugged 12 homers and stole 11 bases. In fact, at the time he left Cuba, he was leading the whole league in OPS (1.213) at the age of 19. In 2015, he hit .305 with five home runs for his team, Los Tigres de Ciego de Avila. The pitching may have been watered down where he was performing, but the talent is there from this outfielder.
Luis Robert is a special player. He has a very high ceiling, but like any 19 or 20-year-old prospect, he is no given. It appears that he has the necessary tools to make it to the major leagues. Beyond that is entirely up to him. There are tons of players with his ability, but putting it together and performing is another thing. A.J. Preller and the Padres’ staff will surely do what’s needed in order to determine if Robert has the intangibles to succeed. May 20 is coming rather quickly, and it will not be long after that before the outfielder is playing in someone’s minor league system. Why not the Padres? It could happen. And it would be amazing.