CHICAGO (670 The Score) – Newly demoted White Sox right fielder Oscar Colas and his struggles are a microcosm of the organization's ailing farm system and subpar fundamentals.
Once heralded as a premier prospect, the 24-year-old Colas has been a bust in his first MLB season, hitting .216 with five homers and a .571 OPS in 75 games. Beyond that, Colas has also displayed poor fundamentals, which has been a big concern for the club.
After Colas committed a pair of blunders in the outfield Sunday, new general manager Chris Getz and manager Pedro Grifol agreed it was time for Colas to get more instruction in the minor leagues. So the White Sox optioned Colas to Triple-A on Monday, a sobering move considering Colas was the team's starting right fielder on Opening Day.
“He can be a big impact player,” Grifol said. “He has the tools to impact this team, but fundamentally, he still needs a lot of work. And we thought it was best for him to go back and attack those fundamentals on the minor league side.”
The question the White Sox need to ask themselves is this: How can a player who had six years of experience playing high-level baseball in Cuba and Japan and then a season in their own minor league system become their Opening Day starter in right field without having learned the fundamentals of defense such as hitting a cutoff man?
“It is a far question to ask,” Grifol said when asked how a player could get that far in his career without mastering the basics. “My answer to that is I don't know. I don't know what kind of instruction he got in Japan. We know the work that was put in and what we saw here. He still needs a lot of work.”
A former player development director, Grifol has high standards for what he expects to see in players coming up from the minor leagues.
“This is the big leagues, and we can make mistakes here,” Grifol said. “I am OK with some of that. We do have to eliminate the amount of mistakes we make on a daily basis. If we can’t help you eliminate them up here, then you must go back down there and work on it. It’s about the details of the game we need to attack.”
Grifol acknowledged Tuesday that the instruction must improve at the MLB level for the White Sox as well as in the minor leagues.
“A lot of that falls on me,” Grifol said. “We must do a better job here. We have to coach better. We have to have better plans. We must hold ourselves accountable more. There is nothing we can look at this year that we have done that we can say that was good enough. We have to improve in every aspect of the game.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.