There isn’t much doubt that the White Sox’s Luis Robert and the Angels’ Jo Adell are the two best outfield prospects in baseball. The prospect gurus at Baseball America, MLB.com and FanGraphs all rank the two that way, and they also place them among the top farmhands in baseball no matter the position. Robert (No. 2 overall at BA, No. 3 at MLB.com and No. 7 at FanGraphs) holds a small edge over Adell (No. 3 at BA, No. 6 at MLB.com and No. 4 at FanGraphs) at two of the three outlets, but they’re lumped so close together that the difference is negligible.
The Cuba-born Robert has already landed a pair of lucrative contracts during his time in professional baseball. Now 22 years old, Robert joined the White Sox in 2017 for a $26MM signing bonus. Robert has since destroyed minor league pitching, including during a 2019 campaign in which he earned his first promotion to Triple-A ball. He batted .297/.341/.634 (136 wRC+) with 16 home runs in 223 plate appearances at that level, though his strikeout and walk rates were below average (24.7% K, 4.9% BB). Robert’s production was enough to convince the White Sox to make yet another sizable investment in him. This past January, they inked Robert to a six-year, $50MM guarantee – a record for a player with no major league service time (the move has gone over quite well). The deal paved the way for Robert to begin as the White Sox’s center fielder in 2020, if a season actually happens.
Adell, meanwhile, probably won’t open 2020 on the Angels’ roster, but it might not be long before he forces his way up and takes the reins in right field. He may be able to play all three outfield spots, but the team already has Justin Upton in left and pretty good player named Mike Trout in center. Before Adell gets to Anaheim, the soon-to-be 21-year-old – who became an Angel when they chose him 10th overall in 2017 – will likely have to improve his production in Triple-A. Adell had little to no success there last season, hitting .264/.321/.355 (67 wRC+) with no homers, a 32.6 percent strikeout rate and a 7.6 walk rate over 132 PA, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that he has been extraordinarily productive in the minors. It was only a year ago, for instance, that Adell returned from early season hamstring and ankle injuries to bat .308/.390/.553 (173 wRC+) across 182 PA in Double-A, thereby earning a promotion.
Baseball America regards both Robert and Adell as potential franchise players in the making. Robert obviously has the Triple-A track record on his side, but that doesn’t mean he’ll end up as the more valuable major leaguer. If we’re to believe prospect experts, you really can’t lose between the two of them, but which one would you rather bet on going forward?
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