Luis Robert is the megastory from White Sox minicamp

Luis Robert is the megastory from White Sox minicamp

Todd Steverson's Arizona retreat gives White Sox fans first glimpses of biggest acquisitions if nothing else

Todd Steverson started the annual January hitters’ minicamp for the White Sox back in 2014 as part of his first winter on the job. Among the most intriguing attendees in Arizona was Matt Davidson, whom the Sox received in a trade for Addison Reed over the offseason.

(Reed just signed a two-year, $16.75 million deal with the Twins, by the way.)

The Camelback Ranch powwow was Davidson’s introduction to the organization, the first stop on the way to becoming the organization’s third baseman of the future that season. When asked about his initial impressions of the organization, he leaned heavily on words like “awesome,” “really” and “cool.” Steverson had a plan for Davidson that included pulling the ball less, which is one of those things that always sounds pleasant to the ear.

The next year, Davidson found himself trying to pretend his first year never happened after hitting .199 in Charlotte. He had another off year after that, and didn’t resurface in the majors for the White Sox until the middle of 2016.

That’s an extreme example that shouldn’t be used to characterize Steverson’s tenure on the whole, but the minicamp shouldn’t be used to set expectations or agendas. The White Sox still haven’t cracked the top half in runs scored during Steverson’s tenure, finishing eighth, 15th, 11th and 12th over his four seasons at the helm.

The minicamp carries more value as a piece of marketing, because it’s the mid-January equivalent of “pitchers and catchers report,” with much-needed video of baseball activity and encouraging words all around. It’s also how White Sox fans got first looks at Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada after landmark acquisitions, and the same can be said for Luis Robert, who will be participating in his first stateside baseball activity after plying his trade in the Dominican Republic for tax purposes.

As Steverson’s minicamp opens, Robert’s period as more myth than man will draw to a close. The hope is that most of the hype ends up in the talent concentrate as it boils instead of evaporating. Until then, here’s one last burst from Micker Adolfo via Scott Merkin:

“His first at-bat in Dominican instructs was a home run, first pitch he saw. He cleared the trees. It was probably 430 feet,” Adolfo said. “But the guy is a specimen.

“He can field, hit, run, throw and everything. He plays hard. He’s a really good fit for the White Sox and I would love to be playing next to him some day in Chicago.”

Merkin also tweeted the complete list of invitees:

I’m guessing you’ll hear swing-plane updates from Jake Burger and Blake Rutherford, but in terms of tangible use, the minicamp should also yield significant health reports. Charlie Tilson is the obvious one there, but Ryan Cordell (back) and Luis Curbelo (knee) also had seasons cut short due to injuries that weren’t thoroughly reported due to a lack of exposure.

Then again, Tilson had no restrictions at last year’s minicamp when it came to hitting, but running proved to be the bigger issue afterward.

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15 Comments on "Luis Robert is the megastory from White Sox minicamp"

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PauliePaulie
Member

I don’t recall how well attended this was in the past, but that list is impressive.

Especially pleased to see Moncada’s name.

katiesphil
Member

Check it out – everybody who’s hoping to be anybody coming to camp. And baseball-like stuff going on. Happy MLK to us all.

MonicaMG
Member

NOW I’m excited for the minicamp

Anohito
Member

Baseball activities! Always good. Go you young hitters!

PauliePaulie
Member

Cutch to the Giants.

Patrick Nolan
Editor

I don’t know what to think about what the Giants are doing. They were awful last year, but don’t seem to be in a good ‘blow-it-up” position either. That’s one heck of a tough division out west.

PauliePaulie
Member

Giants and Jays (equally tough division out East) look to be giving it one last shot. Either/Both could be blowing it up come July.
Reports are that they didn’t have to give up any of their top 3 prospects. So, worth a shot I guess.

MrTopaz
Member

Jays need to start making moves if they’re serious about going for it one more time.

AirTrafficAJ
Member

Giants window for guys like Posey, Bumgartner and Crawford is rapidly closing.  May as well go out with a bang

MrTopaz
Member

Pirates breaking out that “There, but for the Grace of God…” roster strategy.

Trooper Galactus
Member

I don’t know what the Pirates are doing trading Cutch for basically a good setup man and a middling LF/CF prospect unless they have plans on using his money to make another signing or two from the still considerable free agent pile, though I’m not sure who’s remaining that would reliably replace his 2017 production.

Olssox
Member

Feels like all they are doing currently is cutting costs. Dumping salary > prospects = sad life for a baseball fan…

Pointerbabe
Member

Aaaahhhh, some baseball at last!

PauliePaulie
Member

Granderson to the Jays. Looks like Avi is staying.

MrTopaz
Member

Avi’s probably staying anyway, but I can’t imagine the Jays seriously think Granderson is the only move they need to make. I’m sure they’re like every other team, waiting to see how far the market drops before committing themselves. If not, then I don’t know wtf they’re thinking.