Spare Parts: Oscar Colás could be too talented for Triple-A

There are a few weeks remaining before pitchers and catchers report to Arizona on Feb. 15, so even while we’re issuing preliminary grades for Rick Hahn, the offseason isn’t quite over.

That said, James Fegan’s conversation with White Sox hitting coordinator Andy Barkett did come across as a dry run for reasoning themselves into making no other additions to address second base and right field.

There’s no reason to doubt Barkett’s sincerity in saying he’s “a big Romy [González] fan,” and there’s certainly no reason to knock the work González has done to overcome the odds set by his draft status thus far, but improving pitch selection at the MLB level feels like a worthwhile project for a not-ready team, instead of a club that’s desperately trying to prop open its window.

At least there are a few candidates to cycle through at second base, be they Lenyn Sosa, Leury García or even Hanser Alberto.

Oscar Colás is on an island in right field, and while he’s (definitely) more talented and (probably) more ready for MLB action right now, Barkett’s assessment tripped an alarm for me.

Similarly, he sees other developmental hurdles for Colás working themselves out on their own for the most part but thinks he will have to get through some periods of struggle for that to take place.

“There’s so much bat speed and there’s so much ability there that he’s kind of like an outlier,” Barkett said. “To get Oscar to follow a game plan, I don’t think he’s there yet. He’s just so good that he’s like: ‘Yeah, that’s the game plan. Fine. Give me the bat — I’m gonna kill this guy.’ There’s a lot of dudes that are like that, and that’s OK. That works for him. So until that stops working, I think that he’s going to — he’s gonna go out there and compete. He believes that the club in his bag is better than that ball that guy is throwing. That’s kind of where he is right now. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

This description of a right fielder reminds me of Avisaíl García, who hit .354/.404/.532 over his Triple-A career, but couldn’t really duplicate that success until his fifth season in the majors. That Triple-A career only lasted 74 games, which created a natural tendency to wonder if he needed more seasoning, but when somebody’s hitting .354/.404/.532 and is only striking out 24 percent of the time over any extended sample, who’s actually capable of teaching him anything there?

In Colás favor, being left-handed makes his job a little bit easier, and his experience climbing the ranks of the Japanese professional system probably gives him more to draw upon than we’re used to accounting. I’d fully understand and wholly support an Opening Day assignment if he continues to look the part in spring training, but man, I sure wish the Sox had a better backup plan if his introduction is a rocky one, or if Luis Robert misses months again.

Spare Parts

Speaking of Colás, he cracked Baseball America’s top 100 list with room to spare, checking in at No. 89. Colson Montgomery is 50 spots higher, and deservedly so.

The Athletic has been examining potential MLB expansion markets, and these are the two closest to my body and heart. There’s also a story about Portland, but … meh.

Considering the Royals changed GMs in part because the previous one wasn’t transactional enough, I’ve been surprised with how sleepy the Royals have been all winter. The signing of Chapman, which joins Jordan Lyles as the only moves of note for KC, won’t really change things.

Between Phil Castellini telling some of the Reds’ most ardent supporters that they run the team like a nonprofit and won’t be keeping any of their best players, and John Angelos hiding behind Martin Luther King Jr. Day to avoid answering questions about Baltimore’s turbulent ownership situation, it was a banner week for failsons.

Based on projections, the AL Central might be the least affected by the shift to the balanced schedule because they were already set to face the NL East had the league stuck with the previous interleague arrangement.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Augusto Barojas

Colas may be too talented for AAA, but would it surprise anybody if he starts the season there due to service time shenanigans? This offseason would feel incomplete if they didn’t do that to screw things as well.

I’ll say this as far as Colas learning to follow the Sox “game plans”. Miles Davis once said that it took him years to learn to play like himself. When you look at the Sox history of success (or lack of) in developing players, maybe Oscar’s best interests will be served if he doesn’t listen all that much.


Wasn’t Eloy the same when he came up? He would just crush minors pitching and didn’t need a game plan besides “see ball, hit ball”. It took Abreu sitting him down and showing him how to break down video (and buying him an Ipad lol) to get him to actually do prep work.

Of course, that also could be explained that the White Sox minor leagues in 2018 didn’t have the resources they supposedly have now.

Augusto Barojas

Yeah, Eloy was Eloy before the Sox got him. I highly doubt they have added much to him. Jose hit 25+ bombs I believe the first half of his first year with the Sox. If Sox coaching had any impact on him it probably wasn’t all that positive. Of course he had a very good career with the Sox but was never better than he was (or as good as) when they first got him.

It’s just exceedingly rare that the Sox draft and develop a position player that turns out to be good, that I think just about everything they do should be questioned. Tim is the only guy I can think of in who knows how long. Even Vaughn was way better in college and projected to be a better hitter than he has so far. If he was in the Astros system/team he would probably be a wrecking machine already.


That’s promising news. Kristen Nicholson and Brian Waterman (who used to work with the White Sox, Bulls, and Fire) have built a pretty amazing operation at Wake Forest.


Absolutely fascinating article, thanks for sharing.

Junior had labrum surgery after frosh year, done by an army surgeon that had all the credentials as an arm/shoulder expert. When he blew his elbow out and needed TJ, since they were in NY, coach got him a consult with Altchek, the Mets surgeon. Altchek thought that a possible cause for the elbow to go was a slightly wrong reattachment point when the labrum was done. He said that it was fine for common folk, but for pitchers, he does it differently.

The double edged sword in this rearward speculation, was at the time, most power pitchers had a less than 20% recovery up to full velo and junior beat that and actually increased velo. But in all fairness, he was a very late maturer to his mans body so that is probably a factor also.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I don’t have an Athletic subscription. Is it Oakland A’s Dave Stewart or Eurythmics Dave Stewart?


They’re comparable baseball minds.


unfair to Portland. the MLB to PDX group and the article about it is considerably more fleshed out in planning than Nashville or Montreal. the city and its 3M metro area already supports the blazers, timbers, and thorns remarkably loyally. baseball is maybe a more natural fit than basketball or soccer; the local area is a hotspot of talent, like Adley Rutschman, and Oregon State is college baseball royalty at this point. plus Nike’s world headquarters are right next door. also it would have a ballpark where it’ll be possible to hit the ball into the river, which all baseball fans should support.

send the A’s to Vegas and Rays to Montreal imo.

re colás and Avisaíl: Avi’s issue was and is that (1) his swing could only lift the ball in relatively few locations/timings and (2) he’s not patient enough to hunt that. so he pounds the ball into the ground vs MLB competition. Colás does not seem to have any issues lifting the ball, which means he’s not gonna learn that much in Charlotte bc his pop flies will be hurtling that short little RF wall.


Yeah I’m not getting the Portland diss. The city and area is gorgeous and like all the things you mention, I think it’d be a great landing spot for MLB and a natural rival for Seattle.

As Cirensica

I would love the Expos to come back to Montreal. When I moved to Canada (2009), the Expos no longer existed (2004), so I have never experienced an Expos game here in Canada. Plus Montreal is my favorite city in Canada. Any excuse to visit Montreal is a good excuse.


But what happens when they succeed from Canada?


Of all my random visits to cities to see Sox games, the Montreal weekend was by far the best and could never be topped.

I was there for their last season. 4K attendance on Friday and Saturday, but 30k on Sunday for a Tim Raines tribute.

Bonus Baby

The comment about Colas being too talented for AAA sounds a lot like a scouting report I recall reading about Luis Robert — he was so talented that his approach problems would essentially never be exposed in the minors. That would happen only when he got to the majors.

It’s a much more promising comparison than Avisail Garcia — but it’s unfortunately not quite so promising for this year. It was a shortened season, but Robert’s first year he only had a wRC+ of 99, which got much better the next year.

Even for good hitters, first year struggles are so common. There really will be no excuse if they don’t trade for another decent veteran OF.

Yolmer's gatorade

I’m happy to see Luis Arraez out of the division.


My kid’s scouting report on Pablo Lopez: he’s the one who balked a million times.

Edit: think my kid is wrong

Last edited 2 months ago by jorgefabregas
Augusto Barojas

Seems a bad trade for the Twins, to me. Lopez is a good starter but Arraez is worth more than that. Lopez is a solid RHP though, which makes him a good bet for a couple wins vs the Sox.

Miami now has quite a surplus of middle infielders, no? Chisholm and Arraez are both 2b, Chisholm played 30 games at SS in 2021 and made 10 errors. Not necessarily a great plan to stick him at SS and hope for the best if that’s what they’re planning. 2b and SS are not exactly interchangeable. I thought Wendle was their plan for SS? They’ve got a logjam of infielders, really. Sox could sure use Chisholm, or Segura. Or Arraez for that matter.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I don’t think Arraez is much of a second baseman is he? I thought the Twins mostly had him at 1B and DH.


They had Polanco so they played him where they could to play his bat.

Augusto Barojas

I didn’t realize that, you’re right. I saw him at 2b vs the Sox a couple times, but truth be told the Twins were not interesting enough to follow that I did not even know Arraez played elsewhere a lot of the time.


Saw a trade value estimator that said the opposite. Similar 2023 WAR projections for Lopez and Arraez and Salas is an actual prospect.


Good call about the surplus of infielders. Ng said they are moving Chisholm to CF.

Augusto Barojas

Chisholm might be amazing. Super talented, his season last year was outstanding while it lasted, 14 homers, 45 rbi’s, and 2.4 WAR – in only 60 games. That’s monster stuff if he plays 150. Like 35/110/ 6 WAR. Plus he’s a lefty.

Of course would probably take Vaughn, Crochet, and Colas to get him or something.


Me too.


This is the best rationale I’ve seen for penciling Colas in as the RF starter. If he needs more of a challenge for his development to continue, then I’m all for it–even if he struggles a bit in MLB year 1.


I guess Colas will have to learn the hard way before he starts to listen. I agree with Jim. If you are rebuilding one could tolerate this stuff. But winning now doesn’t have the patience to let the guy learn the hard way that MLB pitchers are way better than what he saw at Birmingham and very briefly at Charlotte. He may rake for a couple of weeks in April but then the pitchers will adjust. Hey, he might not even get two regular season weeks. The scouts will be all over him in Spring Training if the rest of the league thinks he’s the starter in RF.


So he went over checklists in A-ball for 2 months and now he’s ready to be a big leaguer. I am in awe of the development skills of this organization.


Sometime during his High-A stint is when Colás posted that he was tired of being treated like a slave and took White Sox stuff off his social media. Not saying that this routine is related to what he said, but it’s possible.