(The Sports Xchange) - The Chicago White Sox signed Cuban free agent outfielder Luis Robert to a minor league contract, including a $26-million signing bonus, the team announced Saturday.
Robert, 19, has played the last four seasons for Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series, Cuba’s top-level league. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Robert made his debut with the team in 2013 at age 16.
Including the postseason, Robert hit .315 with 20 home runs, 92 RBIs, 156 runs scored, 29 stolen bases and a .402 on-base in 210 career games with Ciego de Avila. He is a two-time Cuban champion, his team winning the league title in 2015 and 2016.
The Cuban prospect became eligible to be signed as a free agent last Saturday after Major League Baseball informed clubs last month that he would not be subject to the June first-year player draft.
“We are excited to add Luis — another young, extremely talented and impactful prospect — to the White Sox organization,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement.
“Luis has the potential to be a dynamic, five-tool player at the major-league level, and we look forward to watching him develop in our system over coming seasons.
Robert, who bats and throws right-handed, hit .401 with 12 home runs, 40 RBIs and 11 steals over 53 games in 2016, his final season with Ciego de Avila.
He played in 16 games with the Cuban National Team from June-July 2016 in the Canadian-American Association, a professional, independent league in the Northeast United States and Eastern Canada, batting .286 with two doubles, one triple, one home run, eight RBIs and three stolen bases in 16 games.
Robert played for Cuba’s U-18 National Team from 2014-2015, making appearances at the World Cup (2015) and Pan American Games (2014).
Editing by Larry Fine