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White Sox prospect Oscar Colas

Grifol shares White Sox’ plans for their right field situation

by Joe Binder

Right field continues to remain up in the air for the White Sox, but the team’s manager has offered his early thoughts on the situation.

During his Saturday interview on 670 The Score’s “Inside the Clubhouse,” Pedro Grifol said highly touted prospect Oscar Colas will have the chance to become the team’s everyday right fielder.

“Well, certainly, Oscar Colas is going to be given every opportunity to see if he can become our right fielder on a daily basis,” Grifol said. “Obviously, Sheets is another option. Leury Garcia is an option. I think there’s going to be some competition there in right field, and Oscar is going to be right in the middle of it.”

“Marisnick has been added to our spring training roster,” Grifol continued. “I’m really looking forward to seeing how those guys take on that challenge and seeing what we can do.”

Colas, MLB Pipeline’s No. 2 White Sox prospect, had a remarkable 2022 season. After signing during the previous offseason as an international free agent, Colas appeared across three different levels with the organization. He played primarily in High-A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham, where he hit .309/.367/.516 with 21 home runs and 75 runs batted in.

Incredibly, Colas performed better in Double-A, which is notoriously known for being one of the more difficult places to hit. The Cuban owned a .927 OPS in 51 games in Birmingham, compared to a .844 OPS in 59 games in Winston-Salem, to the point where some wondered if he could make a September appearance on the South Side.

Colas was eventually promoted to Triple-A Charlotte in late September, where he had nothing more than a quick cup of coffee. In just seven games, the 24-year-old still turned heads with a slash of .387/.424/.645 (12-for-31), two homers, four RBI, and five runs scored.

Colas was additionally impressive because of his platoon splits. As a left-handed hitter, he owned a .951 OPS in 2022 against left-handed pitchers. He hit only a slightly lower .879 OPS against right-handed pitchers, showcasing his abilities against all hurlers. Colas was also able to play both center field and right field defensively over the course of the year, thus making him a viable option at the major league level.

In addition to Colas, outfielder Eloy Jimenez is another name that might see occasional playing time in right field.

“I know this is not something people want to hear, but I’m really looking forward to seeing Eloy in right field,” Grifol said. “And I’m not talking about seeing him there every day, but I’m talking about maybe seeing him there a day or two a week, if possible, and keeping him athletic and keeping him working on the defensive side. Because I know that helps on the offensive side as well.”

Jimenez has been far from a stellar outfielder throughout his career. After posting -12 Outs Above Average (OAA) in 2019, he followed that with seasons of -4 OAA in 2020, +/- 0 OAA in 2021, and -2 OAA in 2022. However, all three seasons from 2020-2022 came with very few chances in the outfield – 218 total chances combined, compared to 228 chances in 2019 alone.

It stands to reason that, while Jimenez may be improved in the outfield, it may make the most sense to have him avoid the outfield most of the time in 2023. The 26-year-old figures to be the team’s primary designated hitter moving forward.

As more becomes known regarding the team’s right-field situation, we will continue to provide updates. Follow along with us on social media @SoxOn35th!

Featured Photo: Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knights

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