Colas signing gives the White Sox farm system a needed boost

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
 
 
Updated 1/25/2022 7:06 PM

In 2017-18, the White Sox had one of the best farm systems in baseball.

Trading established talent like Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Adam Eaton beefed up the Sox's minor-league teams, and players like Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech eventually made their way to the major-league roster.

 

With the White Sox now contending instead of rebuilding, there's been another drop-off in the minors -- the Sox are the only major-league team without a player on Baseball America's Top 100 prospects list, which was just released.

On Tuesday, the White Sox system did get a needed boost when highly regarded outfielder Oscar Colas agreed to terms on a $2.7 million deal.

In another international signing, outfielder Erick Hernandez agreed to a $1 million deal.

Colas was one of the top international prospects available, and the 23-year-old is anxious to get started with the Sox.

"I knew that the White Sox were a very good organization, especially with the Cuban players," Colas said through Sox interpreter Billy Russo. "I also knew this organization likes to play hard and win games. That was what attracted me the most about this organization."

Colas played in his native Cuban Serie Nacional from 2016-20 and also played in the Japan Western League and Japan Pacific League from 2017-19.

A left-handed bat, Colas hit .282/.343/.483 with 38 doubles, 5 triples, 28 home runs and 116 RBI over 187 career foreign league games.

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"He's ready," said Marco Paddy, who heads up the White Sox's international operations. "He's mentally ready. He can't wait. The one thing with him is he's not going to be intimidated by this new experience. When you look at Oscar, Oscar signed to go to Japan at the age of 18, if I'm not mistaken.

"He went over there and handled that very well. He felt it was time for him to move on to a new market. He handled that and now he's at this new market. At the end of the day, he won't show any intimidation whatsoever. He's a guy that's confident and he wants to do this more than anything else."

Colas, who also throws left-handed, gave pitching a shot in 2018-19, but he's strictly an outfielder now.

"Pitching is in the past for me," the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Colas said. "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. It was an easy decision. My focus for now is just being an outfielder."

Hernandez is a 17-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic. Like Colas, he bats and throws from the left side.

"Hernandez is going to have power," Paddy said. "He has some power now but as a 17-year-old, you have to project that a little bit. He shows you the ability to hit for power and his power in the last year or so has grown to more than when we saw him the first time."

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