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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 2: Norge Vera

The clear top arm in the system will be handled very gingerly by the White Sox in his first Stateside season.

The White Sox will err on treating Norge Vera delicately, as the clear No. 1 arm in the system.

Norge Vera
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
185 pounds
Age: 21
2021 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 9
SSS rank among all right-handed starting pitchers in the system: 1

Norge Vera’s father, Norge Luis Vera, was a pitching legend in Cuba (he actually pitched against José Abreu near the end of his career) and idol of former Sox World Series hero José Contreras. Thanks in part to the White Sox history of attracting Cubans to their roster, it was no surprise that Norge Vera, considered the best pitcher in the 2021 international class, signed with them.

While throwing in the mid-to-upper 90s in workouts before the Sox signed him, he actually picked up a few notches soon afterward. The 21-year-old mowed down DSL hitters in 2021. In seven starts totaling 19 innings, he posted a 0.00 ERA and 0.74 WHIP by allowing nine hits, five walks and 34 strikeouts.

As Vera was more than two years older than the league average, he was expected to dominate — which he most certainly did. It’s not just the fact that he posted a 49.3% strikeout rate as opposed to a 7.2% walk rate, but opposing hitters hit just .141 against him. In addition to his strikeouts, Vera kept the ball down, as evidenced by a whopping 78.3% ground ball rate when hitters did make contact against him.

It’s not just his triple-digit heater that is drawing attention. Currently, Vera possesses at least a five-pitch repertoire that also includes a curveball, changeup, cutter and slider. Oh, lest one forgets, he also is on the very nascent stages of a forkball. With so many pitches, Vera will eventually discover which he’ll have the most success with and mete out the ones that give him the most struggles. Certainly, Vera is not settled with where he is now, and is focused on becoming a true pitcher and not merely a hard thrower.

MLB Pipeline grades his tools as follows: 55 for his fastball, curveball and slider; 50 for changeup and control. All are excellent grades, but they could even be better once scouts see him perform Stateside.

Currently, Vera is battling lat issues, and the White Sox are treating him very gingerly. Any hope of a decent innings load and possible move up the organizational ladder likely have already evaporated, in the interest of extreme caution for a special arm. Vera seems ticketed for Kannapolis, and he will probably ride out the entire season there — acclimating to life in a new country, to boot.

The 2023 season is when we will have to wait for any meteoric rise.

2022 South Side Sox Top 100 White Sox Prospects

2. Norge Vera, RHSP
3. Yoelqui Céspedes, CF
4. Oscar Colás, RF
5. Jake Burger, 3B
6. José Rodríguez, SS
7. Wes Kath, 3B
8. Erick Hernández, LF
9. Jared Kelley, RHSP
10. Bryan Ramos, 3B
11. Matthew Thompson, RHSP
12. Drew Dalquist, RHSP
13. Micker Adolfo, RF
14. Yolbert Sánchez, 2B
15. Romy González, SS
16. Sean Burke, RHSP
17. Jimmy Lambert, RHSP
18. Caleb Freeman, RHRP
19. Luis Mieses, RF
20. Kade McClure, RHSP
21. Tanner McDougal, RHSP
22. Jason Bilous, RHSP
23. Wilfred Veras, 1B
24. Lenyn Sosa, SS
25. Jonathan Stiever, RHSP
26. Brooks Gosswein, LHSP
27. Misael González, RF
28. Terrell Tatum, CF
29. Carlos Pérez, C
30. Bennett Sousa, LHRP
31. Luis Basabe, RF
32. McKinley Moore, RHRP
33. Emilio Vargas, RHSP
34. Blake Rutherford, LF
35. Anderson Severino, LHRP
36. DJ Gladney, 3B
37. Luke Shilling, RHRP
38. Chase Krogman, LF
39. Cristian Mena, RHSP
40. Benyamín Bailey, LF
41. Tyler Johnson, RHRP
42. Andrew Perez, LHRP
43. Tyler Neslony, LF
44. Theo Denlinger, RHRP
45. Hunter Schryver, LHRP
46. Jefferson Mendoza, C
47. Harvin Mendoza, 1B
48. Gil Luna Jr. LHRP
49. John Parke, LHSP
50. Victor Quezada, 3B
51. Haylen Green, LHRP
52. Sammy Peralta, LHRP
53. Yoelvin Polanco, RHRP
54. Taylor Broadway, RHRP
55. Noah Owen, RHRP
56. Luis Curbelo, 3B
57. Bryce Bush, RF
58. James Beard, CF
59. Xavier Fernández, C
60. Wilber Sánchez, SS
61. Kohl Simas, RHRP
62. Johan Dominguez, RHSP
63. Jagger Rusconi, 2B
64. Ronaldo Guzman, LHSP
65. Laz Rivera, 3B
66. Adam Hackenberg, C
67. Will Kincanon, RHRP
68. Lane Ramsey, RHRP
69. Tommy Sommer, LHSP
70. Randel Mondesi, RF
71. Shawn Goosenberg, 2B
72. Zack Muckenhirn, LHRP
73. Cameron Butler, CF
74. Godwin Bennett, RF
75. Logan Glass, CF
76. Dario Borrero, 1B
77. Craig Dedelow, RF
78. Carlos Hinestroza, RHRP
79. Gunnar Troutwine, C
80. Kade Mechals, RHSP
81: Caberea Weaver, CF
82. Layant Tapia, SS
83. Homer Cruz, RHRP
84. Kaleb Roper, RHSP
85. Jerry Burke, RHSP
86. Emerson Talavera, RHRP
87. Isaiah Carranza, RHSP
88. Davis Martin, RHSP
89. Tyler Osik, 1B
90. Samil Polanco, 3B
91. Manuel Veloz, RHRP
92. Pauly Milto, RHRP
93. Fraser Ellard, LHRP
94. Colby Smelley, C
95. Manuel Guariman, C
96. Everhett Hazelwood, RHRP
97. Garrett Schoenle, LHRP
98. Kyle Kubat, LHRP
99. Anderson Comas, RF
100. Jake Elliott, RHRP