When Oscar Colas defected in early 2020, ESPN’s Jeff Passan called him “one of the best prospects to emerge from Cuba in years.” Now, after his rapid rise last year through the White Sox minor-league system (where he hit a combined .314 and slugged 23 homers in 117 games), manager Pedro Grifol and GM Rick Hahn are all but saying right field is his to lose. Some fun facts about the 24-year-old rookie:
• Before defecting, Colas spent three seasons in Japan’s minors leagues. (The Cuban government gave him permission.) He even played seven games in Japan’s top-tier Nippon Professional Baseball, hitting a home run in his first at-bat, but left after a contract dispute.
• He spent part of the winter in Florida training with Sox center fielder and fellow Cuban Luis Robert. Check him out absolutely crushing the ball in a clip posted to his Instagram (@colas_oscar).
• He can pitch! (He’s got a mid-90s fastball.) He was dubbed the Cuban Ohtani, but don’t get too excited: He last took the mound in Cuba’s 2018–19 National Series, and he isn’t expected to pitch in the majors.