Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Grifol And Getz Call Out Oscar Colás For Lack Of Fundamentals


White Sox General Manager Chris Getz and manager Pedro Grifol did not hold back when asked about Oscar Colás. They did not like what they saw. 

The Cuban outfielder was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte on Monday, just six days before his 25th birthday. He struggled during his rookie season hitting just .216/.257/.314 with five home runs and 19 RBIs. While Pedro Grifol acknowledged Colás’s impressive skill set and potential, he believes Colás needs to clean up his game. 

“He’s got to go down there and take care of those fundamentals,” Grifol told reporters. “We talked a lot here about those fundamentals. We’ve worked a lot, we’ll continue to work with him. However, we thought it was just a good time for him to go down there and just attack those things on the Minor League side.

“I talked about this over and over again, and Chris and I are aligned on this vision: We want to play a fundamental style of baseball. We want to eliminate mistakes, and details are extremely important to us. That’s what we’re going to be looking for moving forward.”

This was a brutally honest but fair assessment from the White Sox manager. Grifol is trying to build a culture and after reports have come out that players have been skipping practices and falling asleep in the bullpen under his watch, he is trying to tighten the screws on his player’s attention to detail. His comments were directed at Colás’s lack of focus, not talent.

Colás was pegged as the long-term solution in right field the White Sox have been searching for. His arm strength and quick left-handed stroke helped place him as the White Sox No. 2 overall prospect last season. 

After breaking camp with the team it became clear that the rookie lacked plate discipline. He was sent back down to Triple-A Charlotte on May 2nd to improve his approach. When he was recalled on July 4th and given another chance in the big leagues he squandered it with his poor fundamentals which ultimately led to his demotion. 

“We sent him down, he made some of those adjustments in Triple-A, came back up here – and sometimes you could see adjustments, sometimes you couldn’t,” Grifol said. “Some of the mistakes kept recurring. This has nothing to do with tools. This is sharpening his toolbox to be able to come up here and play consistent baseball, detailed baseball, fundamentally sound baseball, and be a part of this moving forward.”

The overall numbers were ugly for Colás. However, the front office was more frustrated with his mental errors. Colas had multiple instances of throwing to the wrong base from right field, overshooting the cutoff man, getting poor secondary leads, and running into outs. 

His pitch selection was also brutal. Colás owned a 39.8 percent chase rate, 31.8 percent whiff rate, and 27 percent strikeout rate, paired with just a 4.8 percent walk rate. 

“He’s made some mistakes, not that we were too surprised when those mistakes have happened,” Getz told the media in Detroit. “It’s a matter of minimizing those. You want players to go out there and play freely and be the athletes they are but within the approach of winning a baseball game and making good decisions on the field. There have been moments that perhaps have gotten a little too big for him.”

It is ironic that Getz, who was in charge of the White Sox minor league development and was hired by Reinsdorf for “teaching baseball the right way” had to send down the organization’s former No. 2 prospect because he lacked fundamentals.

The fact that the White Sox sent him down despite being eliminated from postseason contention is very telling. At this point in the year, the White Sox should be trying to give their prospects as much playing time as possible to determine if they have a future with the team. Yet the front office still felt it was in Colás best interest to send him down. 

“That’s the way it’s always been,” Grifol said. “Even though we’re 30 under and we’re officially eliminated, we’re still trying to win Major League games. Sometimes the environment up here creates a level of anxiety that doesn’t allow the player to maximize his capabilities and potential.

“When you send him down, it kind of frees him up a little bit, it lets him do more things in a more controlled environment. At this time, we made this decision so he can go down there and finish the season, hopefully, on a strong note. We’ll talk to him again and give him a plan for the offseason.”

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