Cuban Review Oscar Colás 2022

Oscar Colás -OF-Chicago White Sox

Oscar Colás 2022 Season in Review

The Cuban Ohtani he is not. In fairness when that monicker was first bestowed upon him Shohei Ohtani wasn’t even Ohtani yet. There is a reason few have had success on both sides of the mound, it’s really hard. The White Sox have allowed Colás to focus on batting and outfield defence and parked any pitching expectations. A long gap in competing due to his defection from Cuba likely torpedoed this from the outset. Colás and the White Sox had to wait over two years for him to make his Pro debut Stateside, but it was worth it.

The youngster from Santiago began 2022 in Advanced A with the Winston Salem Dash. It didn’t take him long to shake off any rust and prove he was destined for higher levels. In 59 games he slashed .317/.372/.574 with 7 home runs and 42 RBI in 244 AB’s. His 54 strike outs were elevated but this is a phenomenon across baseball.

Colás played exclusively in center field for the Dash. He would log more innings in Right upon promotion to Double A Birmingham though. This is where he is more likely to settle in. He did appeare adequate in the middle field though. He would cede CF to fellow Cuban Yoelqui Céspedes who projects as a more natural center fielder and had arrived in Birmingham ahead of Colás. The White Sox ultimately hope both are blocked in center by another Cuban in Luis Robert but you can never have enough versatility in your defence.

Oscar Colás via Instagram

Colás didn’t skip a beat upon his arrival in Double A. His slash line stayed similarly impressive at .306/.364/.563 while his home run production rose exponentially hitting 14 home runs in fewer at bats. As mentioned 100 strikes outs in 427 At bats is the area that could most use improvement. This K rate isn’t egregious and is the Achilles heel of many a young batter. Like most prospects it might be the key number to keep an eye on.

The Triple A season saw the schedule grow by six games and extend further in the calendar year in 2022. Colás is a beneficiary of this and in mid September was promoted to Charlotte. The promotion through 3 levels in a calendar year is likely a great indicator of the White Sox accelerated plans for him. It would be surprising if he isn’t given a chance to compete for a Major League job in spring 2023. Oscar Colás mirrored his success in jumping levels without skipping a beat.

Colás would only get the chance to play in 7 games at the minors top level but he made them count. He slashed .387/.424/.645 which in a vacuum is too small a sample but as a trend showed he has likely outgrown the minors. He played 4 games in center committing 1 error and 2 flawless games in right. The White Sox have already indicated Colás will not take part in Arizona Fall League. Dominican Winter League could be an option but The Sox might already feel comfortable with his 2022 workload after 2 plus years on the sidelines.

Colas played parts of three seasons in Cuba’s Serie Nacional as well as three years in Japan’s minor Western League and seven games with that nation’s big league Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. A dispute with the Hawks led to him being declared a free agent in December 2020, but he elected to wait until January 2022 to sign with the White Sox for $2.7 million. Chicago didn’t have enough money left in its 2021 international bonus pool for him, but he was willing to wait to join a Cuban contingent that includes José Abreu, Yasmani Grandal, Yoán Moncada and Luis Robert in the Majors and prospects Yoelqui Céspedes, Norge Vera and Bryan Ramos in the Minors.
Compared to fellow outfielder Céspedes, Colas is a better hitter with similar power and less athleticism. Though it’s unclear how much time it will take him to adjust to U.S. pitching after a two-year layoff from meaningful competition, Chicago believes he can be a solid hitter whose quick left-handed stroke and strength could translate into 30 or more homers on an annual basis. He may need to tighten his plate discipline after striking out four times as often as he walked in the Japanese minors.
The 6-foot-1, 209-pound Colas moves well for his size and possesses average speed. Though he was hyped as “The Cuban Ohtani” in the past, he pitched only sporadically in Cuba and Japan, where his fastball was clocked as high as 95 mph. He fits the right-field profile nicely with his well-above-average raw power and arm strength. prospect profile
Oscar Colás 2022 Player Profile via Cubadugout

Phil Selig

Canada’s Top Expert on Cuban Baseball. I first ventured to the island in 2012 with camera in hand and captured some of the future baseball stars of the world. I have returned many times immersing myself in the game and culture. Get inside the Dugout for a unique look at Cuban Baseball.