The Chicago White Sox agreed to a deal worth $2.7 million with outfielder Oscar Colás. Colas is ranked number five on MLB Pipelines Top 50 international prospects. The White Sox also landed Erick Hernandez who came in at number 28 on that list for $1 million.
Colás is expected to officially sign the deal on January 17th. This is a huge signing for the White Sox. Colás is widely regarded as the top outfield prospect from Cuba. He joins a rich history of players in the White Sox Cuban pipeline dating back to Minnie Minoso. The major league roster already has a very good group of Cuban players. Jose Abreu, Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert, and Yasmani Grandal make up half of the starting lineup. Following right behind them are prospects Yoelqui Cespedes and Norge Vera.
Colás has elite arm talent
Colás has been described as the “Cuban Ohtani” because of his ability to pitch and play outfield. He has a howitzer of an arm but don’t plan on seeing him on a major league mound anytime soon. According to Jesse Sanchez, Colás no longer wants to pitch and the White Sox are not planning on using him as a pitcher. However, a left-hander that throws a 95 mph fastball is certainly intriguing. In 2018 he pitched in the Cuban National Series and posted a 2.70 ERA in three appearances.
His power arm benefits him more as an outfielder. Colás would likely have a top five-arm among active right fielders in the MLB today. He can play all three outfield positions and received a 55 fielding grade from MLB.com.
At 6’1, 209 pounds, Colás is built like a power hitter. He has some raw power and some nice components to his swing. His bat stays in the zone and he has shown the ability to drive the ball to the opposite field. Despite the lack of professional experience scouts still anointed him as the top international prospect on the market. He projects to hit in the middle of the lineup and his numbers reflect that.
In 2019 he played in Japan on the SoftBank Hawks and put up some solid numbers. He hit .302 with a .350 slugging percentage and a .516 OPS. The left-handed hitter also added 12 home runs, 19 doubles, and 48 RBI’s in 73 games.
He played three years with Cuba’s Serie Nacional for Santiago and posted a .305 average. Colas also slugged .487 with nine home runs. In his final season with Santiago, he slashed .289/.389/.533. James Fegan of The Athletic reported that Colas is expected to play stateside this coming year which is huge for the White Sox.
Hernandez has drawn Juan Soto Comparisons
While all the attention has gone to Oscar Colás, Erick Hernandez may be a diamond in the rough. Hernandez is from the Dominican Republic and just turned 17. Like Colás, Hernandez is an outfielder who bats and throws left-handed. The fact he received $1 million is significant because the White Sox don’t often hand out bonuses of this size.
Hernandez received a 60-grade future hit tool from MLB.com. He has also drawn comparisons to Juan Soto because of his ability to spray the ball all over the ballpark. Like Soto, he hits the ball hard. MLB.com gave him a 55 power grade. Simply put he can rake.
Hernandez has a very advanced approach at the plate for his age. He can make adjustments on the fly and has no problems handling left-handed pitching which is rare for a prospect of his age. He is very athletic receiving a 50 run grade, 50 arm grade, and 50 fielding grade.
Hernandez can play all three outfield positions but projects to be a corner outfielder. At 6’0 175 he needs to hit the weight room to bulk up a bit. However, the tools are there and he has plenty of room to grow. A bonus is his reputation for having a positive attitude and being very coachable.
It will be exciting to see how both of these prospects develop in the White Sox system.