Oscar Colás could be playing Major League Baseball soon…
The 21-year-old Cuban outfielder/pitcher, hailed as one of the best baseball talents to emerge from Cuba in recent years, has left the island and intends to sign a contract with a major league team, sources familiar with his plans tell ESPN.
Colás spent most of the last three years in Japan, playing in the minor leagues for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. He made his Japanese Leaguedebut in 2019 and homered in his first at-bat after hitting .300/.353/.511 as a 20-year-old in the highest level of the minors.
At 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, Colás projects as a power-hitting left-handed outfielder, and could be a lefty pitcher as well. Scouts who have seen Colás in recent years question his ability to become a full-time, two-way player but said his fastball, which runs up to 95 mph, is of high enough quality to allow him to try to play both ways.
The biggest question among teams who found out Friday of Colás’ defection: When does he plan to sign? Much of the money from teams’ hard-capped bonus pools in the 2019-20 international signing period has been spent, according to sources. If Colás wants the multi-million dollar bonus his talent warrants, he might have to wait until July 2, when the new international signing period begins and teams’ bonus pools are refreshed, according to sources.
Colás is not the only top-end talent available from Cuba. Right-hander Norge Carlos Vera, the 19-year-old son of longtime Cuban pitcher Norge Luis Vera, is expected to sign in July. And Yoelkis Cespedes, the 22-year-old brother of New York Metsoutfielder Yoenis Cespedes, defected in June and could sign anytime.