The Next White Sox Cuban Sensation Is RHP Norge Vera

The above clip is Norge Vera. Unless you're a White Sox fan, you don't know who Norge Vera is, and nor should you. It's kinda weird; I don't know if this is the case with other fanbases, but White Sox fans have an amazing knowledge of their farm. I think it's safe to say that that's because we as fans spent ~5 years watching the farm more than the big league club after the Sale/Eaton/Q/etc. trades, but it doesn't matter what the reason is. You could be an org filler or top 5 prospect in baseball - if you're in the Sox system, the fanbase follows you.

Vera is different though. He signed about 11 months ago for $1.5MM out of Cuba. It wasn't some insane signing of consequence like when the Sox inked Abreu or Robert out of Cuba, so he slid under the radar for a few months. That was until 2020, when he got his feet wet in the Dominican Summer League by throwing up this stat line:

Those are good numbers, but let's get a few things straight before we continue:

- I don't give a shit about ERA at this level. It's fine and dandy that he didn't get scored on, but it's meaningless in the grand scheme of things
- I don't care about walks at this level… at least not really. A lot of those umpires are trash, the hitters are swing happy and will make a pass at anything, and a lot of times pitchers are told what pitch to throw and are working backwards, throwing pitches in atypical counts, and in general, often times intentionally placed outside their comfort zone.
- I care about hits surrendered and strike outs.

The reason I care about the latter and not the latter, at least as someone not watching these games in person, is because a lot of times these pitchers are being told what to throw. They're working on enhancing command of all pitches and hitters know that. If a hitter knows what's coming and you're still striking out 34 hitters over 19IP, it's a sign that you have awesome "shit". Doesn't matter how advanced the hitting is or isn't. That's impressive. All the other shit can be taught and cleaned up by the development staff. What I look for is the stuff you can't teach or coach. He has that in spades.

And by all accounts, that's what Norge Vera has… awesome shit. The video at the top provides a little proof of that. Watch it a few times and I would say that even the most novice baseball fans would say "he wasn't even trying. That dude's so smooth" and that novice fan would be correct. It's not quite a flat ground drill, but he's humming that ball 88-90MPH without ANY effort. Effortless velocity equals plus to plus/plus command.

But recent reports say he's really starting to tap into his 6'4" 200 pound frame. And by recent reports, I mean grainy cell phone videos taking by people watching him live:

Yes please! 

Now I'll reiterate a few things, mostly that prospects break hearts. Vera has an all star ceiling. That said, he might not ever sniff the show. But with the White Sox farm system going from loaded to lackluster due to prospect graduations of recent years, Sox fans could use a little pick me up to quell their concerns. There is still really, really good talent at various levels of the system. Sheets and Burger are still here. Colson Montgomery looked good in his brief debut. Wes Kath looks like he might rake his way through the system quickly. Vera is hucking upper 90s and commanding multiple pitches. Oscar Colas and Yoelqui Cespedes are here. Jose Rodriguez is turning heads. 

None of that is to say that the White Sox have surefire stud after surefire stud like when Moncada, Eloy and Robert were topping top 100 lists, but it's not that depleted, either. 

I'm writing this blog as a way to sort of introduce Vera to the world. If you love following prospects' road to The Show like I do, Vera is a name you should 100% be following in the coming years. Baseball America is about to drop their new top 100 and Vera won't be on it. I'll wager that come July, he will be a top 75 guy and continue to balloon upward. Everything I've heard about him, via scouts in the Sox organization and elsewhere, say he's got a crazy ceiling. There's a lot of refinement still to go, but if he taps into his ceiling he might be one of those house hold prospect names you hear about non-stop sooner than later. 

Here are a few other videos of him: 

And for an extended look at him, watch this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLl8tbuwVAA&lc=UgwKv8DamtJKJxFgr1p4AaABAg

Dude is sooooooo smooth and the ball just explodes out of his hand. Can't wait to follow his path to the Bigs this summer and maybe, just maybe, he's headlining a trade for a monster that helps bring the Sox a World Series. Either way, it's a win/win having Vera in the system right now. Get used to his name because he's going to fuck up lineups a lot this summer. He'll most likely start in HiA Winston Salem then end the year at AA Birmingham or even AAA Charlotte if he plays to his ceiling. After that, building his inning threshold to MLB standard and unleashing him onto the world. Get ready for him.