White Sox agree with Colás, Hernandez

January 25th, 2022

CHICAGO -- Over the years, Marco Paddy has watched countless games and workouts involving Oscar Colás, a 23-year-old Cuban outfielder who agreed to terms with the White Sox on a $2.7 million deal, as announced by the team on Tuesday.

But Paddy -- the White Sox special assistant to the general manager, international operations -- remembers one moment from Colás' time playing for the Cuban national team in Japan that perfectly illustrates his talent, versatility and competitive nature.

“He was playing first base. He came in and threw for an inning, then he went to right field in the same game. He wanted to win so bad,” said Paddy during a Tuesday afternoon Zoom call to announce the White Sox initial international class, comprised of Colás and 17-year-old outfielder Erick Hernández. “At that time he was 14 years old, maybe just turning 15. But he showed that desire, that hunger, that ability to compete.

“So from the competitive standpoint, you could see it right away. And then once you meet him and get to see him in person, then you really know who you’re dealing with. This kid is very focused on what he needs to do. He wants to win, he wants to win bad, and he wants to be successful. Those kinds of guys, once you see that, it’s an attractive tool.”

Colás carries a “Cuban Ohtani” moniker into the organization, but playing the outfield and hitting will be the only things he focuses on with the White Sox.

“Pitching is in the past for me,” said Colás through interpreter Billy Russo on Tuesday. “The last time I pitched was my first year in Japan. When I signed with the organization, they told me they weren’t interested in pitching, and I wasn’t really into it then. It was an easy decision. My focus for now is just being an outfielder.”

In 2019, the left-handed-hitting Colás slashed .302/.350/.516 and hit 11 home runs for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (Minors) and .278 with one home run in seven games for the organization’s Nippon Professional Baseball club. During three years in Cuba’s Serie Nacional, he hit .305 and slugged .487 with nine homers. He slashed .289/.389/.533 in 54 at-bats in 2019, his third and final season for Santiago.

Although Colás has not played organized baseball since 2019, he has been working out in the Dominican Republic and participating in controlled games. He feels strong physically and is ready to begin his White Sox run. He will be part of Spring Training, currently scheduled to begin in Arizona within the next month, and he’s ready to play in the Minors once the season begins and his visa issues are settled.

“It was important to join the team and go to Spring Training and to start building chemistry, that family chemistry and atmosphere around this team,” he said. “Most importantly, I want to start playing and see what I can do here.

“Because I played in Japan and have the experience there, I don’t think it’s going to be that much different here compared to Japan. But obviously it’s something that I have to get used to. I’m just ready to start showing what I can do here and start playing.”

That adjustment period should be slightly smoother because of Colás’ bond with center fielder Luis Robert and Minor Leaguers Yolbert Sanchez and Yoelqui Céspedes, all of whom are Cuban natives. Colás, No. 5 on MLB.com’s list of Top 50 International Prospects, has known and played with Robert since 2015 and considers him like a brother, taking his advice for success to heart.

“You have to be disciplined to have success and accomplish the things that you want to accomplish here. And of course, get here in shape,” Colás said. “Show what you can do. Just take care of the things that you can do and be disciplined. That’s what they’ve been telling me.”

“It's almost like a guy going through the Minor League system,” Paddy said. “The good thing that we have with Oscar is that he played in Japan. So this slight interruption that we had, the year and a half that he was out waiting to solve his situation with the contract and being a free agent, it's a little bit of a concern, but nothing out of the ordinary, because he's still young.”

Hernández, who also bats and throws left-handed, agreed to terms on a $1 million deal. The No. 28 international prospect hails from Moca in the Dominican Republic.