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At long last, the White Sox made their two biggest international signings official this morning, and at the reported amounts. Cuban outfielder Oscar Colás is in the fold at $2.7 million, while Dominican outfielder Erick Hernández signed for $1 million even.
Enough time has passed that we’ve already reviewed the scouting reports and rankings for both Colás and Hernández. Both are lefty/lefty outfielders, but Colás is a 22-year-old with experience in Cuba’s Serie Nacional, along with three years in NPB’s minor leagues before a brief stint with the Fukouka Softbank Hawks, whereas Hernández just turned 17 on Jan. 15.
What’s new is the official input from Marco Paddy via the White Sox’s press release.
“Having the ability to sign two high-level prospects with impact type tools like Colás and Hernández, I would categorize that as a solid year. Colás possesses an aggressive style of play that includes an impressive power bat and arm, as well as the ability to play above average defense at all three outfield positions.”
And about Hernández:
“Hernández is a high-energy, aggressive player with a natural feel for hitting,” said Paddy. “He has the potential to develop plus tools across the board which include a power bat and high-level defense in the outfield.”
I’d note that Paddy’s assessments of his signings tend to reflect strengths and ceilings, rather than current skills and most likely outcomes, which is why it’s hard to imagine Colás playing above-average defense in center field.
That said, I’d also note that Paddy’s description of Norge Vera last January, which featured fastball velocity higher than other international writers noted, ended up materializing, at least during three-inning stints in the Dominican Summer League. We’ll get to see if the glowing reports transfer stateside this spring, but that’s said with excitement, not apprehension.
And speaking of excitement, you can note the age gap with how he describes the players. Colas’ skills are regarded in the present tense, whereas Hernandez is discussed in terms of potential. That’s another welcome development when it comes to the White Sox’s international operations. The kind of potential a 17-year-old carries lasts a while, so if Hernández spends his whole first season in the DSL, he’ll have the usual tax advantages without worrying if they’re burning a year of his physical prime.