Norge Vera Eyes Heavier Workload For White Sox This Year
Norge Vera pitched at three minor league levels last season.
That's usually a sure sign of a top prospect on the rise, and the White Sox liked what they saw out of the 22-year-old righthander in 2022.
“He's a guy who has easy arm action, effortless velocity,” said Chris Getz, Chicago's assistant general manager and farm director.
When he was healthy, Vera was able to show off his arm.
Trouble was, Vera missed the first two months of last season with a Grade 1 right lat strain.
Vera was able to get on the mound for Low-A Kannapolis in early June. He moved to High-A Winston-Salem in August and finished the year with Double-A Birmingham.
Vera, who signed out of Cuba in 2021, posted a 3.31 ERA in a limited sample of 35.1 innings.
“He was able to get some innings under his belt, (but) not as many as we would have liked, obviously, with the lat injury,” Getz said. “Still, a solid foundation.”
While the White Sox didn't push Vera too hard, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound righthander struck out 13.2 per nine innings while featuring a fastball that sat around 95 mph.
“He's a multiple-pitch starter who's physically gifted,” Getz said. “He's got a good changeup. He's got an effective breaking ball. We want to tighten the breaking ball a little bit, but we look forward to getting him rolling.”
All of the down time took a toll on Vera's control. He issued 31 walks in his 35 innings.
Vera spent much of the winter at Chicago's spring training complex in Glendale, Ariz., working on strength and conditioning. As he prepares for a much heavier workload this year, Vera is likely to be back at Birmingham to start the year.
“It doesn’t matter where or at what level you are pitching, you have to perform and be true to yourself,” Vera said through an interpreter. “That’s what I’m planning to do. Whatever level it is, I’m planning to go out there and perform.”
— Top infield prospects Jose Rodriguez and Bryan Ramos both got looks in major league training camp before being optioned to Double-A Birmingham.
— Righthander Jonathan Stiever is healthy after missing more than a year recovering from right lat surgery. He pitched just three innings at the end of last season and will open this year with Triple-A Charlotte.