Every couple of years, there’s an international baseball prospect that every fan needs to learn the name of and who becomes the subject of a bidding war. Enter Oscar Colas.
Colas is a 21-year-old two-way player from Cuba who has been called the “Cuban Ohtani” and is, as of Friday, on his way to Major League Baseball. He’s a 6-foot-1, 209-pound outfielder and pitcher who is being called “one of the best prospects from Cuba in years.”
Francys Romero from MLB’s Los Mayores reports that Colas left Cuba early Friday and has an MLB contract in his sights. Colas has already played professionally in Japan, hitting .302/.350/.516 over 66 games last season. He’s played pro ball in Cuba since he was 17.
He didn’t pitch in Japan, but Colas is a left-hander with a 95 mph fastball according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, who has the early look at Colas’ market:
While Colás could conceivably sign during this international signing period, it may make more sense for him to wait until this July when international bonus pools reset. Most teams have a majority of their money committed, but Colás should reap a significant bonus nonetheless.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 3, 2020
One scout who has seen Colás believes he’s going to stick at outfield, while another says his arm is good enough for him to play a two-way role. Either way, Colás, whose leaving Cuba was first reported by @FrancysRomero, is expected to garner significant interest across baseball.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 3, 2020
The real question, as Passan says, is when Colas signs. July is when a new international signing period opens and teams will have the most international bonus money available. It could take that long for Colas’ status to get cleared by MLB too, since he’ll have to establish residency in another country before coming to the U.S. But if that happens quickly, there’s a chance a team with leftover international bonus money tries to sign him before July.
The Chicago White Sox, who have been in on most Cuban prospects over the past decade and are building around fellow Cubans Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert and Jose Abreu, figure to be a favorite landing spot. The Angels, who already have the Japanese Ohtani, could be interested.
But it sounds like interest will be wide. Probably not to Ohtani levels, but certainly in line with some of the other Cuban defectors we’ve seen come to MLB.
Here are a couple of videos on Colas to watch while you hope you’re favorite team enters the Colas sweepstakes:
More from Yahoo Sports: