The White Sox in the 2018 Amateur Draft selected Nick Madrigal, the 21-year-old second baseman from Oregon State.
Who is this new White Sox prospect you ask?
He is the White Sox leadoff hitter of the future.
Easy to predict
I read a lot about the Oregon State second baseman and contact machine Nick Madrigal. Many of the words I read gave me a hunch the Sox might select him. With a pick like this in context of the current talent already assembled, the key is mitigating risk. Here’s my theory: the upside for the White Sox in this draft literally translated to minimizing the downside.
I’m not yet certain how this pick reconciles against the rest of the team’s talent. Either Yoan Moncada, Tim Anderson or Madrigal will play different positions than they play today if all three are to be part of a future starting lineup. If someone doesn’t change position, it’s possible they might just change teams. Just sayin’.
What seems certain:
Two things are for certain when I think about Madrigal and how he will fit into the team:
- I have no idea what position he will play at this point.
- He will definitely be playing “short.” [SFX: rim shot]
Had to get the short joke out of the way (if you didn’t know, he’s 5’7 and 165 pounds). Seriously, it must be frustrating for Madrigal that everyone addresses his height in every dialog, and can’t talk about any aspect of his play or profile without his height being referenced negatively. He certainly plays with the passion of someone playing with a tremendous urgency or something to prove. Maybe that’s why.
Better than Mize?
The Sox believe Madrigal was the best player available in the draft. Period. According to banter on radio 670 The Score, Madrigal was Nick Hostetler’s number one prospect before anyone was chosen. Hard to believe the Sox would choose Madrigal over Casey Mize, but apparently this was the case. Once you see him play or can track down some video footage online, you’ll know why. He plays like he’s on fire. Bat speed, leg speed, head speed – Madrigal is the real deal.
Hey, look! We found some video footage of Madrigal on MLB.com:
The kid has the intangibles
The intangible benefit of Madrigal joining the franchise is his attitude – or perhaps better stated, his lack of attitude. This kid is positive, positive, positive. The club just tossed a pineapple of positivity into the organization, and conversely chose to preserve the culture of teaming across their youngsters by not throwing a grenade of grumpiness into the mix (Brady Singer anyone?).
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Look for the same value judgments as they consider significant free agent signings this winter and next. Blowing up the culture is absolutely not worth any upside in contribution. The White Sox have too many examples of this over the past several years.
So now comes the hard part: choosing where to play him, both position and level. With his collegiate pedigree, it’s hard to imagine a level below AA Birmingham but one never knows. A position change if he takes one might warrant Class A ball for some period, but my guess is AA or AAA. And then what happens after is anyone’s guess.
Overall, Madrigal represents a relatively safe draft choice and a nice set of tools in contact, speed and baseball intelligence. And that, of course, is the short version. The longer story will take more time to unfold.