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Luis Robert was 16 years old when he started playing against the big boys of Cuban baseball—just a kid when he debuted in the island’s top league. He was fast and strong, and before long he had major league teams ready to pounce, just as soon as they could.
“The best prospect in Cuba right now,” said Yuli Gurriel, the Houston Astros first baseman who left Cuba in early 2016.
Robert would be the best prospect in Cuba, that is, if only he were still there. He followed Gurriel and other Cuban baseball stars out the door last November, and he’s a free agent now, eligible to sign with a major league organization as soon as Saturday.
Right now, Luis Robert is one of the best prospects in the entire world.
He’s 19 years old and as super-talented as ever, and while there’s still no guarantee he makes it (as with any prospect), the possibilities are enough to excite anyone fortunate enough to see him play.
“It’s no slam dunk,” said one National League scout who has followed Robert’s career closely and saw him again in the last few weeks. “But he’s about as freakish a physical package as you’ll see.”
He’s like Yasiel Puig, Gurriel said, but with better ability to play center field. He’s like Adam Jones or Mike Cameron, scouts said, except with a bigger, stronger body at a young age. He’s Jorge Soler but with better speed and a lesser arm.
Robert played all three outfield positions for his team in Cuba, but scouts think he would have a chance as a center fielder here. His power translated to 12 home runs in 232 plate appearances before he left his Cuban team at midseason in search of major league riches. The speed hasn’t yet translated to big stolen-base numbers, but it could.
He’s 6’2″ or 6’3″ and weighs somewhere around 175 pounds. He was clocked at 6.2 seconds in a 60-yard dash at an open workout for major league scouts last month, although some of those scouts were skeptical about the distance measured.
“Still, call it 6.4,” the NL scout said….