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Don’t look now, but the “other” outfield prospects named Luis are heating up

by Nik Gaur

With all due respect to Luis Robert, he is not the only notable outfield prospect in the White Sox farm system. A few of them, in fact, are also named Luis, and much like the famous All-Garcia-Outfield, an All-Luis-Outfield is a real possibility for at least a game or two in the coming years. While Luis Mieses is an intriguing young outfield prospect, I am referring to Robert, Luis Gonzalez, and Luis Alexander Basabe.

After rolling through two levels unfazed last season, Luis Gonzalez arrived at AA Birmingham this year, where hitters go to die. Gonzalez has been slightly below average at the plate in the Magic City. His season BABIP of .279 is down from last year’s .359 mark, and while his line drive rate has decreased slightly, it is still fair to assume that he has been a tad unlucky this season. His luck has started to turn, however, as he is hitting .318/.384/.515 over his last 18 games. He even won the Southern League Player of the Week award for last week, a feat that not even Luis Robert accomplished during his stint in AA.

Gonzalez is still a solid all-around prospect with few flaws in his game, and despite a slow start in AA, he still figures to have a real shot at carving out a role with the White Sox in the next couple of years. It is never easy to develop in the pitcher’s paradise that is Regions Field, and the Southern League as a whole has been seeing some down offensive campaigns from prospects. A strong finish to the 2019 season would be terrific for Gonzalez and his case to be remembered in the conversation surrounding the future White Sox right fielder.

Unlike Luis Gonzalez, Luis Alexander Basabe’s season struggles can be attributed to injuries. Basabe posted a 111 wRC+ in 61 games in AA in 2018, but suffered a broken hamate bone in February. Hand injuries are awful when it comes to hitters’ power and rhythm — just ask Luis Robert, whose hand injuries limited him to 0 home runs in 2018 (he has 23 and counting in 2019). Basabe is back and appears to be healthy again:

It’s a small sample, but it is nice to see him putting up numbers in spite of the lingering effects of his hand injury. The athletic, switch-hitting outfielder profiles as a plus defender at all three outfield positions, and much like Gonzalez, is a very well-rounded player. The two are actually somewhat similar offensively with respect to pure numbers, but Basabe is younger, has a better arm, and has a higher ceiling.

The minor league season is beginning to wind down, but strong finishes from prospects like Basabe and Gonzalez would be outstanding developments for a White Sox team with a glaring hole in right field. Both players, if they continue to perform, could reasonably debut during the 2020 season. Even if the right field vacancy is filled via free agency, they both may be able to find roles on contending White Sox teams. Keep an eye on their box scores as the AA season enters its final few weeks.

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Featured Image: White Sox/Twitter

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