With the additions of left-handed-hitting outfielders Oscar Colas of Cuba and Erick Hernandez of the Dominican Republic, the White Sox’ farm system got a needed boost of talent as the international signing period kicked off Saturday.
The deals, which will be announced early this week, add the No. 5 international prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, in the 23-year-old Colas ($2.7 million bonus) and No. 28 prospect in Hernandez ($1 million) to a once-highly ranked farm system that has been depleted in recent years by the promotions of Luis Robert, Michael Kopech, Andrew Vaughn, Garrett Crochet and Nick Madrigal to the majors. After the 2021 draft, MLB Pipeline ranked the Sox’ farm system 30th of 30 teams.
The Cubs, whose system is ranked 18th, according to MLB.com, signed Dominican shortstop Alexis Hernandez (ranked No. 18 by MLB Pipeline), infielder Adan Sanchez (ranked No. 43) and shortstop Jefferson Rojas.
The 6-1, 205-pound Colas has been called the “Cuban Ohtani” because he can hit with power and pitch with mid-90 mph velocity, but he is focusing on the outfield and projects as a right fielder. It’s not known whether Colas will break in with a Sox minor-league affiliate in the United States or in the Dominican Summer League, and he’s not expected to reach the majors for at least one full season.
Colas batted .289/.389/.533 in 54 at-bats for Santiago in Cuba’s Serie Nacional in 2019, his third and last season. He also has played in Japan’s minor leagues, posting a .302/.350/.516 hitting line with 11 home runs in 66 games.
Left-handed hitters are a welcome addition to the Sox, whose major-league roster is right-handed-heavy. Their top two outfield prospects — Yoelqui Cespedes and Micker Adolfo — bat right.
Colas, who made a commitment to the Sox months ago, joins a deep pool of Cuban talent in the Sox’ organization that includes Jose Abreu, Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert, Cuban-born Yasmani Grandal, Cespedes and Norge Vera, another prospect.
The international bonus pools for the Sox and Cubs are $5,179,700. The signing period lasts through December.