Baseball sensation Oscar Luis Colas defected from Cuba earlier this year and has been declared a free agent by his club in Japan, putting him in a position to be eligible to be signed by a major league club in January. The New York Mets should get involved.
The New York Mets are looking to establish a new identity under new owner Steve Cohen and one of the quickest ways to do that would be signing Oscar Luis Colás. The 21-year old Cuban defect has drawn the attention of many around baseball, with some heralding big praise about the potential two-way star.
Colás, who defected from Cuba earlier this year, has been given comparisons to Shohei Ohtani, the Japanese superstar who exploded onto the MLB scene as a pitcher/outfielder. While Colás doesn’t have nearly the pitching experience as Ohtani, there are those in the sport who think he has a chance to provide the same level of impact on both sides of the field if granted permission to become a free agent in the MLB.
Splitting time between Japan and Cuba, Colás broke into the Cuban National Series at 17. That year, in 94 at-bats, he produced a line of .278/.370/.494/.863. At 18, he was playing in the Japan Western League for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks, but only played in two games. However, in his second full season playing for the Hawks in 2019, he put together a line of .302/.350/.516/.866 with 11 home runs and 46 RBIs over 274 plate appearances.
Check out Colás first professional home run and more importantly, listen to the sound of the ball leaving his bat:
While demonstrating power from the left side, the Ohtani comparisons have been made due to the outfielder’s ability to also pitch, although that display was limited to only 3.1 innings pitched. In those three innings, Colás gave up three hits, three walks and homer while striking out two. Given the extremely limited sample size, scouts have relied on other factors to see the potential on the mound, like his fastball which has touched 95 MPH.
Due to COVID-19, the normal date for international free agency to commence was pushed back to January 15th, 2021. This means that if approved, the Mets would have an opportunity to use their international pool money to sign Colás and, depending on the outlook of their offseason, could be a huge boost to their long term plans.
Many teams at the top of the league have built themselves up through international free agency. Stars like Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, Wander Franco, Ronald Acuna, and Kenley Jansen were all obtained through international free agency.
While the Mets have made some splashes in recent years (Francisco Alvarez, Ronny Mauricio, and Alexander Rodriguez), under the previous regime the international strategy seemed to be more focused on obtaining lots of players rather than better players. With the financial backing of Cohen, the Mets have an opportunity to change that. Due to the rules of free agent spending, it’s doubtful Cohen will divert from his commitment to not spend like ‘drunken sailors’, but like Adrian Cervantes explained his article on international spending, there’s a greater opportunity for the Mets to rebuild through international free agency.
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Signing a player like Oscar Luis Colás could be a sign of change in 2021.