White Sox announce Norge Vera, rest of international signing class

When the White Sox announced the signing of Yoelqui Céspedes for $2.05 million back on Jan. 15, it was strange that he had no company. The team had reportedly struck a deal with Cuban right-hander Norge Carlos Vera well before Céspedes surfaced, and MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez tweeted Vera’s dollar value on signing day, but the press release only said the White Sox “expect additional international signings in the coming weeks.”

Six weeks later, Vera is officially on board.

The White Sox formally announced his signing, as well as six other players previously linked to the Sox on a smaller scale. Vera’s bonus was the only one specified, and he’s the only one that merits a quote from Marco Paddy in the press release.

“I am thrilled with the talent we were able to add to the organization during this international signing period,” said Marco Paddy, White Sox special assistant to the general manager – international operations. “It was highlighted with the signings of Yoelqui Céspedes and Norge Vera – a right-handed pitcher with an outstanding fastball and who has shown promising secondary pitches – and capped off with six talented young players. I can not wait to see this group compete throughout the White Sox system.”

Paddy had previously described Vera in glowing terms on a 670 The Score appearance. It’s perhaps too glowing, because third parties knock his stuff down a peg.

  • Paddy: Fastball 95-97, plus breaking ball, plus slider, extremely good feel for the changeup.
  • MLB.com: Fastball 91-94, slider, curveball and changeup projected to be workable pitches.
  • Baseball America: Fastball 90-94, tops out at 96, mixed reviews on secondary stuff

MLB Pipeline had him ranked No. 15, while BA put him at No. 26. Those numbers don’t particularly matter, because any one of those versions is a welcome addition to the White Sox farm system. The discrepancies should just introduce a bit of caution when it comes to initial expectations.

As for the remainder of the class, the Sox announced six other players, and without the closing line about more signings expected down the line. In barely a particular order:

  • Victor Quezada, 17, 3B, Domincan Republic
  • Adrián Gil, 17, RHP, Venezuela
  • Darío Borrero, 17, 1B/OF, Venezuela
  • Carlos Hinestroza, 18, RHP, Panama
  • Manuel Guarimán, 17, C, Venezuela
  • Carlos Jiménez, 19, OF, Panama

Quezada’s first because he received the most thorough evaluation in Baseball America’s international preview:

They’re expected to sign Victor Quezada, a physical infielder with big raw power from the right side. Quezada has worked out at shortstop but should quickly slide over to third base, with a bonus likely around the $500,000 mark. He trains with Ray Castillo, who also had Sanchez before he signed.

BA also singles out Gil, a 5-foot-10-inch righty who has touched the low 90s. The White Sox’s press release added a line that Freddy Garcia trained him. Otherwise, Jiménez is the only one who jumps out of the email. The sight of a 6-foot-4-inch, 220-pound Panamanian outfielder strikes me as an attempt to find another Benyamin Bailey, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

FOR PATREON SUPPORTERS: See a chart of the White Sox’s notable signings and year-by-year reviews of international classes during the Marco Paddy era. Not (yet) a Sox Machine supporter on Patreon? Sign up today.

* * * * * * * * *

Paddy did follow up with an overview of his signings to James Fegan, whose article on Vera and the signing class is worth reading in its entirety. That said, I wanted to clip ‘n’ save a few descriptions Paddy provided for these players in order to convenien for easy reference later on.

*Vera will report to the DSL, as the White Sox are framing it as a way to get him to acclimate to professional baseball after so much time off.

*Guarmán is “an offense-first catcher with a good arm.”

*Gil compares to Kelvin Escobar physically.

*Borrero is now 6’5″ and 200 pounds, and supposedly has power line to line, which allows him to stay back on breaking balls.

*Hinestroza is “projectable with an easy delivery.”

*Jiménez indeed drew comparison to Bailey, but mostly due to fewer reps to play year-round baseball in Panama.

(Photo via @whitesox on Twitter)

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Jim Margalus
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.

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Trooper Galactus

More of this, please. Stack the system with teenagers. Invest in minor league development. Enough of college prospects who either contribute right out of the gate or go bust within two years.

As Cirensica

LATAM kids have an incentive that most American kids don’t have. They (most of them) not only want the signing bonus (which is a fortune to them), they want out (of Venezuela, Colombia, Rep. Dom., Cuba, etc). They want the “American Dream”. These teenagers have this incentive to work hard because failure to them means going back to hell. At least to many of them is like that.

As Cirensica

I wonder how would people pronounce “Norge”. As Spanish speaker, I am certain that people in Cuba call him “Nor-He“…but I have a suspicious many English speakers will call him as a reference to people born in Norway.


I thought it would be “nor-gay”


Question is HOW to mispronounce Norge! Norwegian or Swedish pronunciation of Norge for example Nor-ge vs Nor-je? Or the Sami “Ner-je”… options are plenty!

As Cirensica

I am thinking of Jorge like in Jorge Orta or Jorge Posada, but with an “N”.

Joliet Orange Sox

My parents had a Norge refrigerator when I was a kid. If Norge Vera were to gain several hundred pounds, he could have the nickname Norge “Refrigerator” Vera and we could just call him “The Fridge”.

As Cirensica

Growing up we call “The Fridge” to Frank Thomas. That nickname is taken.


What? No Carlos Lee comp for Jiménez? Too easy I suppose.


Is Cespedes at Spring Training in AZ?