The Chicago Cubs and the White Sox are two of MLB’s traditional franchises.
Naturally, being in a big market, there are lots of good players on both teams, especially on the White Sox’s roster.
The Cubs sold some assets near the 2021 trade deadline and are rebuilding, but made some win-now hires in this offseason, particularly Marcus Stroman.
Nevertheless, the White Sox’s roster is superior and ready to compete in the playoffs.
Chicago’s biggest star will come from the White Sox’s roster.
A Dynamic, Game-Changing Talent
However, for the 2022 season, Luis Robert is Chicago’s biggest star because of his exciting combination of youth, upside, and present performance.
No one on the White Sox’s roster (or on the Cubs’, for that matter) has the kind of monster potential of Robert.
Robert was one of the league’s best prospects in the last five years and finally graduated in 2020, the pandemic season.
That year, he slashed .233/.302/.436 with 11 home runs and nine steals in 56 games.
He was average offensively, according to wRC+ (weighted Runs Created Plus), with 100, which is the cutoff for average production.
He was expected to take a step forward last year, which ended up happening, just not in the first half.
He started off his 2021 campaign on a similar level of production, but he tore his hip flexor in early May and missed three months.
Upon returning, he was a monster.
Ready to see Luis Robert go off in 2022. 😏 pic.twitter.com/4GrG7x7yiT
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) November 22, 2021
Overall, he slashed .338/.378/.567 with 13 homers, six steals and a 157 wRC+ in 296 plate appearances.
In 2020, he was average: in 2021, he was borderline elite!
Talk about a sizable skill improvement.
Robert cut his strikeouts from 32.2 percent in 2020 to 20.6 last year, and is still 24.
His name is often overlooked in discussions about young studs in MLB, but he is legit.
In just 68 games, he accumulated 3.2 Wins Above Replacement last season: his 162-game pace is actually an incredible 7.62.
Strengths And Weaknesses
Not only is Robert powerful and speedy: he is also a terrific fielder at a premium position, center field, which makes him perhaps the most complete player in the city of Chicago and one of the most impactful.
In 2020, he had eight Defensive Runs Saved, or DRS, and last year he had four.
He achieved both numbers in limited time.
He just needs to remain healthy for a full campaign to show the world what he can do.
If he can improve his plate discipline and start earning more walks, Robert has a shot at being considered a top ten player in MLB as soon as 2022.
In 2020, his walk rate was a solid 8.8 percent, but the number decreased to 4.7 percent in 2021.
Last season’s mark is actually closer to what he did in the minors than what he showed in 2020, but sometimes, major league experience represents the best coaching.
Mike Trout rWAR per 650 PA: 6.0
Bryce Harper rWAR per 650 PA: 6.0
Mookie Betts rWAR per 650 PA: 6.4
Luis Robert rWAR per 650 PA: 6.7
— MLB Metrics (@MLBMetrics) January 20, 2022
Even if he doesn’t further develop his plate discipline, there are enough traits in Robert’s game to consider him the best and most exciting player in the city of Chicago for the 2022 campaign.