White Sox reach a deal with coveted Cuban outfielder Oscar Colas
The 6-1, 210-pounder — ranked No. 5 among international prospects by MLB Pipeline — played in Cuba’s top-level league from 2016 to 2020 and in Japan’s minor leagues.
Oscar Colas was 16 the first time White Sox international scouting ace Marco Paddy got an extended look at him.
It was 2015 at the U-18 Baseball World Cup in Osaka, Japan, and Colas was playing all over the field for the squad from Cuba, which also featured Luis Robert.
In one game, Paddy recalled, Colas started out at first base, took the ball and pitched for an inning and ended up in right field. Whatever the kid had to do to stay in the game.
“He just wanted to win so bad,” Paddy said. “He showed that desire, that hunger, that ability to compete that you’re looking for.”
It took awhile, but the marriage between Colas and the Sox became official Tuesday, when the club announced it had reached a deal with the international free agent — now 23 — that included a $2.7 million signing bonus.
The 6-1, 210-pounder — ranked No. 5 among international prospects by MLB Pipeline — played in Cuba’s top-level league from 2016 to 2020 and in Japan’s minor leagues. All told in those leagues, he slashed .282/.343/.483 with 28 home runs, 38 doubles, five triples and 116 RBI in 656 at-bats.
Colas also has pitched during his pro career and throws in the mid-90s, leading some to label him “the Cuban Ohtani.” Doesn’t that sound wonderful?
But the Sox don’t intend to go down the pitching road with Colas and would more than happily settle for a lefty slugger who ascends to the big leagues without any significant snags and plants his flag in right field.
“For that kind of player with that type of power, that type of ability on the field, we’re looking for a guy that has the opportunity to get to the big leagues a lot quicker,” Paddy said.
Colas hasn’t played a normal season since 2020, and rust is a bit of a concern. But the Sox expect him to be at spring training next month — or as soon as it starts — and to fare well.
“It’s very important to me to join the team, join spring training and start building that chemistry, that family chemistry and atmosphere around this team,” Colas said. “But, most important, I want to just start playing and see what I can do here. . . . I’m just ready.”
The Sox also signed outfielder Erick Hernandez from the Dominican Republic. Like Colas, the 6-foot, 175-pounder bats and throws from the left side. MLB Pipeline has the 17-year-old at No. 28.
“He’s a great, great kid,” Paddy said. “A hard worker, hard-nosed, high-energy type of player with a very advanced bat.”
A year after the Sox signed international free agents Yoelqui Cespedes and Norge Vera, they’re clearly getting their farm system going again. A parade of top prospects has reached the big leagues the last couple of seasons, but outfielder Cespedes (ranked No. 1 in 2021) and pitcher Vera (No. 15) are, like Colas, key parts of the next wave.
Meanwhile, the Sox’ emphasis on Cuban talent has never been more pronounced. Jose Abreu, Yasmani Grandal, Yoan Moncada, Robert, Cespedes, Vera and Colas all hail from the island nation.
Colas referred to Robert as being “like my brother.”
“Everybody in baseball knows the White Sox follow Cuban players,” Paddy said. “Once they’re out there, there’s always an opportunity [for us] to sign them.”