The Chicago White Sox have a lot of young and fun pieces, from third baseman Yoán Moncada (25) to left fielder Eloy Jiménez (24) to center fielder Luis Robert (23). However, the latter two of those players won’t be available for a while; Jiménez suffered a ruptured pectoral tendon in spring training, knocking him out for five to six months (and leading to quite a Twitter tribute from the team on Opening Day), and Robert fell after running through first base Sunday and was helped off the field (as seen above). The team announced Monday that Robert has suffered a hip flexor tear and will be held out of baseball activities for 12-16 weeks:
Sources – White Sox outfielder Luis Robert will miss an extended period of time with hip injury. Surgery was being considered.The team will have more in 30 minutes.
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) May 3, 2021
Luis Robert has a Grade 3 hip flexor strain, which represents a complete tear. Surgery or rest and rehab both being considered, but have similar timelines
— James Fegan (@JRFegan) May 3, 2021
Robert was hitting .316/.359/.463 this season, and was a key part of how well the White Sox have been doing (through Sunday, they’re 15-12 on the season, just 1.5 games back of the Kansas City Royals in the AL Central), posting a team-high 1.1 wins above replacement so far (as per FanGraphs; Baseball Reference has him worth 0.9 WAR this year). In fact, FanGraphs’ Dan Szymborski highlighted Robert as one of MLB’s most irreplaceable players in an April 21 article, given how far above many of his teammates his production has been.
Szymborski wrote that as per projection system ZiPS, the White Sox’s postseason chances declined 23.2 percent if Robert suffered a season-ending injury and was replaced internally. That was the seventh-highest drop-off in all of MLB, behind only Mike Trout, Gerrit Cole, Ronald Acuña Jr., Alex Bregman, Jacob deGrom, and Carlos Correa. Here’s more from that article:
From a straight-up projection standpoint, Robert falls short of most of the names on this list. Just on the Sox, ZiPS thinks Lucas Giolito is a significantly more valuable player overall, at least when he’s not pitching in the morning. But if something should happen to Giolito, Chicago has spare arms to patch up the hole. If the team loses Robert, let’s just say ZiPS does not have a case of Leurymania or Engelalia. The race with the Twins is likely going to be a tight one and the Royals have shown surprising spunk. The White Sox could ill afford an injury to their center fielder.
So Robert is going to be tough to replace indeed. We’ll see where the White Sox go from here.