Oscar Colas may not have drawn the start on Opening Day, but he made the most of his opportunity once the White Sox 24-year-old outfielder got up to bat in the seventh inning on Thursday, ripping a 107-mph single off Astros reliever Hector Neris in his first MLB at-bat.
Formerly known as the “Cuban Ohtani” due to his excellence both with the bat and on the mound, Colas flew out in his only other plate appearance on Opening Day.
Colas won the strong-side of a platoon in right field by going 17-for-66 (.258) with 3 homers and 1 steal in 28 spring training games.
Signed for $2.7 million in January of 2022, he made it from High-A all the way up to Triple-A last year, batting over .300 at each level. He batted .311 with 7 HR in 59 games for High-A Winston-Salem, then .306 with 14 HR in 51 games for Double-A Birmingham and finished up batting .387 with 2 HR in seven games for Triple-A Charlotte. Not really a threat to steal as a 5-foot-11 , 220-pound slugger, Colas was a combined 3-for-7 on stolen-base attempts on the season.
Colas is already well-traveled, spending three years going back and forth between Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball (mostly in the minors) and the Cuban National Series. Combining all the teams he played for in foreign leagues, Colas batted .282 with 28 homers in 730 plate-appearances. He was then sidelined for two years while on the restricted list for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks before signing with the White Sox.
So what can we expect from the powerful left-handed hitter in his rookie season? Looking at his ATC projection, Colas is expected to put up a decent line of .247/.292/.410 with 17 HR and 3 SB in 118 games and 482 plate appearances. We’re betting that if Colas gets to more like 600 PAs, it will be with a .260 average, 20 HR and 3 SB.
The White Sox don’t have a lot of talent to challenge Colas for playing time, as 26-year-old Romy Gonzalez got the start in right field on Opening Day. Fellow left-handed hitter Gavin Sheets would be more of an option in right if Colas falls on his face.
As for the long-term future, Colas has plus hit (55-grade) and power (60-grade) tools that give him a good chance to hit for average and power. He is a below-average runner, so don’t expect much in the steals department. The dream is that Colas will develop into a middle-of-the-order thumper who bats .280 with 30 homers in his prime.