No. 2 prospect eyes '23 White Sox roster spot

Colas grinding through offseason to achieve next baseball goal

December 13th, 2022

CHICAGO -- Anybody who has viewed ’ Instagram account over the past two months understands that the No. 2 White Sox prospect and No. 95 prospect overall, per MLB Pipeline, had very little down time after his breakout 2022 Minor League campaign.

What was the reasoning for Colas’ return to intense preparation after such a short break? Last year’s impressive results mean little to him in the context of what he wants to achieve next, possibly at the Major League level.

“I don’t like to rest. Why should I rest if I haven’t earned anything?” Colas told through interpreter Billy Russo during a phone interview. “I have a goal. I know in order to reach my goal that I have to work hard.

“That’s what I’ve been doing. I haven’t accomplished anything. I need to work hard and once I accomplish my goal, then I will work harder for the next one.”

Colas, 24, seems to be selling himself a bit short when saying he hasn’t accomplished anything. After playing previously in Cuba and Japan, the left-handed-hitting outfielder joined the White Sox as an international free agent when he signed a $2.7 million contract in January. 

Colas' lone Minor League season included stops at High-A Winston-Salem (59 games, 244 at-bats), Double-A Birmingham (51 games, 206 at-bats) and Triple-A Charlotte (seven games, 31 at-bats), where he slashed a combined .314/.371/.524.

First-year goals for Colas included 15 home runs and 100 total hits. Colas finished with 23 homers, 151 hits, 79 RBIs, and 81 runs scored. But he was most impressed by his overall consistency.

“I’m more mature. I know how to do things in a better way, how to be more disciplined about baseball and my skills,” Colas said. “I know what I’m able to do on the field, and this year I just was able to put a lot together and display what I’m able to do. I don’t recall a stretch of four or five games when I wasn’t able to hit.”

“We think very highly of him,” said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn of Colas at last week’s Winter Meetings. “We think he very much deserves to be in the mix for the Opening Day roster in ’23.”

Hahn certainly didn’t guarantee Colas as the White Sox starting right fielder, which many people assume especially when looking at the team’s current 40-man roster, featuring Luis Robert as the only pure outfielder among the small group. Fans understandably are not thrilled with the White Sox lack of offseason activity, coming off a highly disappointing 81-81 season.

Yet having Colas earn his way into the lineup is a positive for the organization. It fits Hahn’s original rebuild idea of filling some spots with key players from within the club's farm system.

“Oscar is a special kid. A lot of desire. A lot of hunger. He wants to play. He wants to be good. A lot of determination,” said Marco Paddy, special assistant to the general manager, international operations, who scouted and signed Colas. “To be able to leave Cuba and leave Japan to enter a free agent market without knowing what the results were going to be, you have to be very courageous. I have a lot of respect for him and the way he’s handled it since Day 1.

“He’s prepared to handle that challenge. I think he’s got a chance to be successful. Oscar loves to work, and he loves to take care of his body. He’s hungry for that opportunity. I think that the results are going to be something special.”

While currently living in Miami, Colas has been in frequent contact with Robert, who lives 36 miles away in Weston, Fla. The duo could make a solid outfield combination, with Colas having the defensive capabilities to play center field as a right fielder.

There are no Major League projections or predictions from Colas in December, though he appreciates all the praise. He’s too busy working to fulfill his next baseball goal.

“Support from the fans, my teammates -- it makes me feel good,” Colas said. “It definitely fuels my motivation. Just reaching my goals and making my dream come true is a motivation. All those little things, when you factor all those little things, it makes you feel unbelievable.

“You know -- I’m motivated, and I really want to earn that spot. That’s my goal right now. I’m working hard for that, and we’ll see what happens.”