Marco Paddy indirectly previews impending White Sox international class

White Sox Dominican Baseball Facility
(@whitesox on Twitter)

Marco Paddy can’t officially talk about the newest White Sox international signings until Friday, but he did what he could to hype them over the weekend via a terrific interview on 670 The Score’s “Inside the Clubhouse.” Matt Spiegel and Bruce Levine acknowledged that Paddy wouldn’t be able to confirm that the Sox had agreements with Norge Vera and Yoelqui Céspedes, but Paddy obliged them when they asked if he could give his impressions of both Cubans.

Regarding Céspedes:

He’s a very good athlete. He’s got ability to be a natural center fielder, and can really play some defense. He’s a plus runner, he’s got an extremely strong, plus-plus arm, and he’s a smart hitter. Obviously since he’s been here in the States he’s worked extremely hard to develop some extra power. Most Cuban players don’t lift weights in Cuba, so once he got here, he started working extremely hard and is showing some plus power. […]

From a baseball standpoint, he’s ready. He’s got a lot of baseball experience. His baseball IQ is very high. He’s very knowledgeable about the game. He knows how to play the game. He’s one of those guys that plays under control, so it’s just a matter of getting used to the everyday grind of playing professional baseball here in the States, but from a baseball standpoint, he’s very close to being a major league player.

Regarding Vera:

Norge comes from a very unique background because his dad was one of the best pitchers in Cuban history. Very good arm. Seen him since he was 16 years old. Also, 6’4″. His fastball, I’ve seen it anywhere between 95 and 97 mile-an-hour range. Plus breaking ball, plus slider, extremely good feel for the changeup. He’s got a great body, great ability to locate and pitch, strong feel for the strike zone. He projects as a starter in the major leagues.

Those are exciting, encouraging descriptions. Paddy doesn’t seem to traffic in others of any kind. Whether discussing Céspedes, Vera or Elijah Tatis later in the show, he omitted all weaknesses or worries outside of the standard lack of stateside experience.

That said, the descriptions of the strengths alone — if advertised — make slotting them in White Sox prospect rankings a fairly straightforward exercise, at least to me. Céspedes becomes the organization’s third-highest position player behind Andrew Vaughn and Nick Madrigal, whereas Vera slots somewhere in the section featuring Jared Kelley, Matthew Thompson and Andrew Dalquist.

As for Tatis, Paddy described him as a better shortstop than his brother, Fernando Tatis Jr., at the same age, due to better agility and a more compact body type that’s more traditional for the position. As for the other stuff that makes Fernando Jr. special? Paddy didn’t draw comparisons.

It’s a shame that Paddy can’t really rave about Fernando Jr., who would be the pound-for-pound biggest feather in his cap were he not dealt away in what’s now every baseball fan’s go-to reference for A Really Bad Trade. Here’s hoping the White Sox’s most exciting international signing deadline since Luis Robert gives everybody a chance to establish new bragging points.

(Photo via @whitesox on Twitter)


  • Jim Margalus

    Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

    View all posts
Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
Become a patron at Patreon!
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

How soon can we have Cespedes replace Eaton in RF ?


He’s one of those guys that plays under control, so it’s just a matter of getting used to the everyday grind of playing professional baseball here in the States, but from a baseball standpoint, he’s very close to being a major league player.

Sounds like the Sox vision of him is as a starting MLB outfielder in 2022. Given delays to the start of the lower minors’ seasons, I wonder if they will start him in Charlotte this spring.

Right Size Wrong Shape

If I understood correctly, the low minor seasons will be the same length just pushed back a little bit, so I don’t think there’s an urgent need to push guys ahead of where you think they should be. I would expect AAA to be filled with a lot of AAAA guys who are there in case somebody on the major league roster goes down, too.


If you do the usual strategy of start in the lower level then move up, you’d end up getting the fewest games possible for your most important prospects (late start to lower levels and early end to higher levels).


Not necessarily. It’s not yet known what the MiLB schedules will look like (will AA and below have a later end date than AAA?). And if you’re that worried about a game threshold, you could shuffle players at the end of the season (so, if a guy started in AA but was promoted to AAA, you could send him back down to AA at the end of AAA for extra games).

I agree with RSWS. I doubt the tired schedule makes much of an impact on assignments. Maybe it’s a tie-breaker for prospects like Vaughn: quick movers close to the majors who likely would have started 2020 in AA. But I don’t think you want to fiddle with assignments for a few weeks worth of games.


Surprised to hear the opinion that Cespedes is that close… had been thinking he would start in high A and move quick if he handled that well but maybe he does start off in AAA and possibly push for an appearance in the bigs this year.

Trooper Galactus

I guess if you consider the current Cuban League to be roughly the equivalent of A+ to AA, then maybe it’s not so unreasonable, especially given everybody will be coming from a long layoff in game action.


I’m surprised they didn’t wait a week before talking to Paddy – maybe he’s not available the next few weeks.

I’d like someone to ask him if the FO told him about the Tatis trade before it happened, or was he blindsided. Did he put up a fight for his guy?


I remember when the Lou Brock trade was the standard bearer for bad trades. It’s a shame that the Sox were the ones to update the reference.

Greg Nix

That’s funny, Jeff Bagwell and John Smoltz were the constant references I remember growing up. Then Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe for Heathcliff Slocumb. I guess every generation has a historically embarrassing trade or two.


At least in the Smoltz trade, the Tigers got all they could have hoped for. He went 9-0 with a 1.53 ERA as the Tigers won their division. He pitched credibly the next year.

For that matter, Larry Andersen had a 1.23 ERA for the Red Sox as they won their division.

Shields, on the other hand… At least his Sox career was better than Broglio’s Cubs career.

Eagle Bones

Maybe I missed something, but do we know if these guys are playing stateside this year? Isn’t there a chance they hold them in the DSL this year for tax purposes like they did with Robert and Sanchez?


I’m not familiar enough with the rules to know all factors, so maybe he’ll have to stay in the DSL for some reason. But I would be surprised if the Sox treated Céspedes like Robert or Sanchez. He’s older than Robert was and (it sounds like) much closer to MLB than Sanchez. Given the (likely) gap in RF in ’22, it would be foolish to keep him in the DSL this year just to save a few bucks now.

Put another way: Jerry is too cheap to keep him in the DSL in ’21: he’s the Sox best bet for a RF in ’22 for a minimal financial investment.

Eagle Bones

I think the idea is that the player saves on their taxes (not Jerry), right?


Unsure of Vera, but the off-the-record comments made when the Céspedes news broke pointed to him getting a Winston-Salem assignment to start out. We might hear something more definitive on Friday.


I really hope they had something in Cespedes’s contract that says he has to be playing here this year.

Doing some really rough math, Robert saved twice as much in income taxes ($4ish million) as Cespedes will get as a bonus. The wasted year would probably cost Cespedes more in future earnings than going to the DSL for a year like Robert than it would save him in income taxes.


Bad back of the napkin math:

I used $26 million of wages in this calculator to get $10.2 million in federal taxes. And, $26million times 25% (highest tax bracket in the DR) gets you about $6 million in taxes.


I remember reading that Yoelkis was now living near his brother Yoenis in Florida and working out with him there.


you might say we erned the right to be remembered for own trade imbroglio
I’ll show myself out


Shields me from these awful puns.


As the off-season crawls along I feel better about the Sox moves. Addressed two big holes in the roster quickly and can take their time and finish out the roster. I think the Eaton move looks better if you are bullish on Cespedes. Still hoping for Brantley and Hendricks!


I will judge the success of this signing on whether Youkilis Cespedes becomes a “before and after” answer on Nine Innings