Picture this: It’s the future, and Oscar Colás is starting in right field for the White Sox, flanked by center fielder Luis Robert, someone he a considers to be like a “brother.”
“We have an excellent relationship,” Colás said Tuesday in his White Sox introductory press conference, through team translator Billy Russo. “We’ve known each other since we were kids, since 2015.”
Colás and Robert played together on Cuba’s national team that year, in the U-18 Baseball World Cup. They’ve been close ever since, Colás added.
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Chicago sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
Colás, whose signing the White Sox made official on Tuesday, joins the organization with a handful of connections already, through Cuba. In addition to Robert, Colás has played on the national team with infield prospect Yolbert Sánchez, and in the Cuban Serie Nacional (Cuba’s top-level league) with 2021 international signees Yoelkis Céspedes and Norge Vera.
"As Cubans, it's always good for us to have some sort of familiarity with the team that we're going to play (for),” Robert told NBC Sports Chicago’s Vinnie Duber last spring. “I think that makes our decision easier. Just knowing that when you have offers from different teams, one of those teams is the White Sox and you know what they've done with Cuban players, you know that when you sign with that team, you're going to have other Cubans that are going to take care of you, that can help you in the adjustment process.
"That's something that you really can't measure, how valuable that is for us. But it's something that plays a big role in our decision when we choose a team."
Colás, ranked No. 5 in this year’s international class by MLB.com, said the White Sox’ reputation for identifying and developing Cuban talent factored into his decision, too.
“I also knew this organization likes to play hard and win games,” he added. “That was what attracted me the most about this organization.”
The White Sox have made it clear that their championship window is open. And in their quest for a World Series title, many of their biggest stars were born in Cuba: Robert, José Abreu, Yoán Moncada, Yasmani Grandal. Last year, Céspedes and Vera were the club’s top-ranked international signings.
“I’ve talked a lot with Luis Robert, Yolbert Sanchez and Céspedes,” Colás said. “What they told me is this is a very good organization. They are very excited to have me, and they just want me to join them and play as hard as they are doing here.”
It’s impossible to say how long it will take for Colás to reach the major leagues, or to guarantee that it’ll be with the White Sox. But White Sox special assistant to the general manger Marco Paddy said Colás’ experience playing in Cuban and Japanese leagues will make for “a quicker path to the big-leagues.”
So, hold onto that image of Colás and Robert playing side by side. It might not be so long before it’s a reality.