The expectations were high for Luis Robert leading up to the 2020 season. Prior to the Cuban’s arrival it had been eleven seasons since the Chicago White Sox had appeared in the playoffs. The South Siders hadn’t even finished above .500 since 2012. During the later half of the 2020s the club was in full rebuild mode. The Sox had put together an impressive farm system during that time and Robert was their crown jewel. Robert’s rookie season would show the team was done rebuilding and ready to compete. Robert made that announcement loud and clear by collecting fourteen hits in his first ten games. Over the rest of the year La Pantera would prove himself to be one of the top rookies in the league. Over the course of the fifty-six games he played Robert smashed eleven home runs and drove in thirty-one runs on the way to posting a .233/.302/.436 slash line. Those numbers would have been higher if he hadn’t struggled so much down the stretch though. At the end of August he was hitting .298/.348/.612 but over the last month of the season he only recorded eleven hits and struck out thirty-two times in his last ninety-two plate appearances. The weak September cost the twenty-three year old his shot at the American League Rookie of the Year but didn’t take away from an otherwise impressive debut season. Even though he didn’t end up winning the award, for most of the season it was a serious debate between Lou Bob and Kyle Lewis for Rookie of the Year. Lewis was not the only player Robert was compared to in 2020. As early as spring training teammates were also comparing him to Mike Trout. That sentiment was reinforced this year by new manager Tony LaRussa. Lots of prospects receive similar comparisons before the season begins but few are called a “six-tool” player by Hall of Famers like Frank Thomas. Robert’s tools and talents provide him with the chance to be a perennial All-Star. With the White Sox primed to take control of the American League Central for the foreseeable future, his supporting cast will provide him with time to work through any slumps like he saw last season as he grows and develops as a player. Robert lived up to the billing and fans should get used to seeing him a lot more in the seasons to come.
Not only will fans be seeing more of Robert going forward but collectors will too. In the last month before spring training total sales of Robert’s 2018 Bowman autograph card jumped from fourteen to twenty-five. Once the season officially gets underway that number will surely climb. Unfortunately for the majority of collectors though, they”l be left on the sideline to watch. At the beginning of June last year Robert’s first Bowman autograph card average value was $453.97. During the season there were raw, base sales made as high as $1,000 but the majority of his cards sold were serial numbered or graded. Today it is much more difficult to find any of Robert’s card without color or outside a slab. There has only been one comparable card sold on eBay thus far in 2021. To get an average of the last ten sales made would take you all the way back to July and then it comes out to $760.58. For anyone fortunate to be holding one Robert’s cards it is a very fortuitous increase. For many collectors it is likely yo be out of reach though and unlikely to come within their grasp anytime soon. Those that have the card now seem to be willing to hold on to it. That’s not an unwise move considering the promise Luis showed a year ago. Now with the White Sox primed to be one of the most exciting teams in the league the interest in their former top prospect will only rise as he garners more national attention. If you are one of the lucky few to be able to add 2018 Bowman #CPA-LR to your collection I believe it would be a very good move. Even if Robert does regress this season, the value of his card is unlikely to drop significantly after the promise he showed in year one. For the rest of us, we’ll have to tune in to the White Sox and enjoy the ride.