White Sox have deal with Cuban RHP (sources)

February 12th, 2020

The White Sox are on track to add another Cuban player to their system.

According to industry sources, the White Sox have an agreement in place with right-handed pitcher Norge Carlos Vera, 19, for an estimated $1.5 million. Vera, who defected from Cuba last summer while Team Cuba was playing in the Can-Am League in New Jersey, was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball on Jan. 16 and became eligible to sign with a big league club two weeks later. The White Sox have not commented on the agreement.

The deal is expected to become official during the international signing period that starts July 2, 2020, and runs through June 15, 2021. The 19-year-old enters MLB.com’s Top 30 international prospects list at No. 4.

The son of Cuban baseball star Norge Luis Vera, the younger Vera, who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 185 pounds, has impressed international evaluators with a fastball in the 94-to-97 mph range and emerging command. His fastball was most recently clocked at 91-94 mph in a showcase for all teams organized by Charisse Dash and Alex Cotto of Movement Management Group last week in the Dominican Republic.

Evaluators believe Vera has a chance to be a starter at the top of the rotation. Scouts like his projectable body, arm action and calm demeanor on the mound. His slider, curveball and changeup are also projected to be above-averages pitches as he matures and gets more instruction. He’s also been praised for his makeup and baseball IQ.

In addition to Vera, the White Sox are paying close attention to Cuban shortstop prospect Dyan Yamel Jorge, who was recently declared a free agent by MLB, along with Yoelkis Céspedes, the younger brother of Mets outfielder Yoenis Céspedes. Yoelkis has not been declared a free agent by MLB and it’s unclear when he will have a showcase for all teams.

The White Sox have a long and storied history with players from Cuba that dates back to Minnie Minoso in 1951 and includes names like José Contreras, Orlando Hernández, Alexei Ramirez. Cuban stars José Abreu, Yoán Moncada, and Luis Robert, who were all heavily scouted by the White Sox as amateurs, will play a big role in the team’s success in 2020.