Adam Engel had a front-row seat for Luis Robert’s 458-foot moonshot Thursday night in Kansas City.
And White Sox Twitter had some fun with his reaction.
“I feel like I have that reaction to him like once a day,” Engel said Friday. “We get to see him do stuff — he might do it once a night, and most guys do it once in their career, do something that cool once in their career or once a year or whatever the case may be. This kid’s doing it a lot.”
Well, Saturday night, Robert did it again.
This time, it was a jaw-dropping defensive highlight, an insane diving catch in center field to take a hit away from the Kansas City Royals’ Maikel Franco.
I mean, this was a “you’ve gotta be bleepin’ me” moment.
Engel, again, with the best seat in the house.
But you didn’t need to be a few feet away to marvel at the athleticism. As MLB.com’s Sarah Langs pointed out, Robert’s dazzler had just a 15-percent catch probability, and he covered 86 feet in 4.5 seconds.
The dude’s a freak.
“Just about every night he does something that makes jaws drop, man,” Lucas Giolito said after the game.
“To think that he’s not fully developed yet is something scary,” Yasmani Grandal said. “We’re seeing the start of something really special.”
The catch was kind of a big deal, too, not just for the highlight it produced but in the game situation.
The White Sox started the bottom of the ninth inning with just a two-run lead, and closer Alex Colomé was on for the save after throwing 40 pitches the night prior. Robert’s catch was the difference between the inning’s first out and the tying run coming to the plate. It might have been extra bases for Franco had Robert not made the catch, and there could have been a runner in scoring position in a blink.
Instead, Robert started Colomé’s 1-2-3 ninth, locking down a 5-3 victory, bringing the White Sox a Sunday win away from a four-game sweep of their division rivals and maintaining their sole possession of first place in the AL Central.
And he looked pretty cool doing it, too.
“You want to see your team win every game. But there’s something special — you get to the ballpark or you’re watching on television, you’re going to see something special from somebody,” manager Rick Renteria said. “And this young man, along with a lot of the kids that we have on our club, has a chance at doing something special every night.
“That was a tremendously timely catch. … It was a great catch. Could have certainly changed the game if that ball falls.”
At this point, though Robert’s big league career is still only 38 games old, you don’t me need to tell you that this guy’s pretty darn good and that his presence in center field, at the plate and on the base paths is a really good thing for the White Sox, not only as they chase after the franchise’s first playoff spot in more than a decade but as they chase after championships for the next decade.
Part of the reason they looked so well positioned for a lengthy contention window?
He’s playing center field. And he’s playing it in highlight-reel fashion.
“To build a team, you’ve got to build it right through the middle, right?” Grandal said. “It kind of ends with him. So the fact that he’s playing the way that he’s playing, making the plays that he’s making, it’s great.”