Sox sign top ranked international pitching prospect


The White Sox made another splash signing on the international free-agent market Friday, announcing a deal with the top ranked international pitching prospect in this year's class.

Norge Vera is a 20-year-old, 6-foot-4 right-hander from Cuba and joins Yoelqui Céspedes, this year's top ranked international prospect, as another jewel in the White Sox international-signing crown. In addition to being ranked as the top international pitcher, Vera is ranked as the No. 15 overall player in this year's class.

RELATED: Sox signee Yoelqui Céspedes 'close to the major leagues'

According to, "Vera has impressed evaluators with a fastball in the 94-to-97 mph range and emerging command. ... Evaluators believe Vera has a chance to be a starter at the top of the rotation."

Following several rebuilding years, the focus is finally on the championship-level expectations for the major league team. But part of the team's rebuilding project was laying the groundwork for sustained success. Bringing more talent into the organization can mean instant impacts for the big league squad, like last summer's first-round pick Garrett Crochet, but also players who can make an impact years down the road, such as Céspedes and Vera.

Additional international signings announced by the team Friday included outfielder/first baseman Darío Borrero, right-handed pitchers Adrián Gil and Carlos Hinestroza, catcher Manuel Guarimán, outfielder Carlos Jiménez and third baseman Víctor Quezada. All six players are teenagers.

"I am thrilled with the talent we were able to add to the organization during this international signing period," Marco Paddy, the White Sox special assistant to the general manager for international operations, said in the announcement. "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 cannot wait to see this group compete throughout the White Sox system."

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