Cuban Prospects: Norge Carlos Vera (Chicago Whitesox )

Norge Carlos Vera is the 12th ranked player in his organization’s top 30 prospect list . The son of the Cuban League great Norge Luis Vera signed with the Chicago White Sox in 2021 for $1.5 million. The flamethrower was recently listed by Baseball America as the one of the prospects with the best control in the White Sox farm system.

Vera began his career in the Dominican Summer League in 2021 and dominated much younger opponents, but also missed some time with arm fatigue during his stint in the circuit. The Cuban righty posted a mark of 1-0 and did not allow a run in 19 IP in the DSL.

His 2022 season started late due to an injury, but he finally took the mound in late May in extended spring training. Vera pitched his first official game in the United States on June 9, tossing 2 ⅔ shutout innings for Class-A Kannapolis.

After seven more starts at that level, he moved to Advanced A with Winston-Salem for two games before finishing the season with three starts at Birmingham. Vera showed immense talent and guile in such a hectic and dizzying process. In total he posted a record of 0-3 and an ERA of 3.31 in 13 starts in 2022. In 35 ⅓ the younger Vera fanned 52 and opponents hit a miniscule .154 versus the right-hander during the season.

Scouting Report:

When healthy, Vera dominates hitters with a plus fastball that has an excellent spin rate and movement. He sustains the pitch 95-96 mph and tops out at 99, sporadically touching 100 on the radar gun. He also has good wind-up and can often make the ball invisible to hitters. Vera’s speed dropped to between 90 and 95 at the end of the season, but that was attributed to his work load and lack of action since leaving the island.

His slider is an above-average pitch that still needs a little fine tuning and thrown with more conviction. It is in the 82-86 mph range, but it needs to have a little more velocity to become elite. Vera rarely uses his changeup (80 miles), which lacks any good action, is below average and is still a work in progress. Although the hurler has a live arm, he often throws across his body and mechanics can sometimes be a problem for the Cuban.

Scouting Grades (20-80):

Fastball: 60 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 45 | Controller: 45 | Overall: 45

Projection (2023):

Vera spent the offseason in Arizona working out at the Chicago complex refining his pitches. After a spring on the minor league side of camp he had an inauspicious first start at Advanced A Winston-Salem allowing one run and walking four batters in his first action of the season on the mound.

Although he had control problems in that start, something atypical for Vera, the pitcher is projected to make his debut in the show by 2024. Vera projects as a middle of the rotation starter, but could also thrive in a late-inning relief role. How he advances throw the organizational pyramid this season will solely depend on his performance on the mound.

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