White Sox: Prospect Profiles – The Incredible Nick Madrigal
There is a prospect tearing it up in the minor leagues and could potentially make team after just a year and a half there. That prospect is College World Series winner Nick Madrigal.
Selected fourth overall in this year’s MLB First-Year Player draft was former Oregon State University Beaver Nick Madrigal. in less than a year in the White Sox organization, he has already made a name for himself.
Drafted as a junior, Madrigal only played three seasons as a Beaver. In those three seasons, he never had a batting average lower than .333. His best season was his sophomore year. Miraculously, he had his most amount of at-bats, 237, while hitting for his best .380 batting average, .449 on-base percentage and .532, his best slugging percentage. These numbers tell scouts that he is a player that only gets better as the year goes on as opposed to tiring out with more at-bats.
Madrigal’s 2018 began with the White Sox Arizona rookie league. He struggled in only 17 at-bats getting only two hits, but once he was called up to Low-A Kannapolis, things changed.
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In 44 at-bats, he tore the league up hitting .341. The only negative about his time at Kannapolis would be his mere six RBIs and one walk. A major positive take away would be the fact that he did not strike out once. With issues on striking out for the White Sox, Madrigal’s approach could rub off on some players with high strikeout rates like Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson in the near future.
Once he proved he was ready, Madrigal was called up to High A-Winston-Salem. In 98 at-bats, he hit a slash of .306/.355/.347 with an OPS of .702. To some, that OBP and slug seems low compared to his batting average. But frankly, his attraction never involved power numbers. In his three years at Oregon State, he hit a total of eight home runs. He was sought after because of his ability to hit consistently with limited strikeouts.
When Madrigal was drafted, many Sox fans questioned the front office’s choice to draft a middle infielder with guys like Moncada, Anderson and Jake Burger in the system or already in the Majors. But Madrigal provides that extra depth the Sox lacked.
Primarily a second baseman, Madrigal can play shortstop and could potentially play third base as well. And with Moncada and Anderson holding down the fort up the middle, the idea of where Madrigal can play has been a topic of interest since he was drafted.
There are many different scenarios that can take place to make room for Madrigal. A most likely situation would be moving Moncada to third and placing Madrigal at second. Another potential situation would be moving Anderson to center field and putting Madrigal in there at shortstop. But with names like Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and Blake Rutherford coming up in the farm system, it does not seem likely.
Like most players drafted out of college, Madrigal is making his way through the organization. But at the level he is playing at, he seems to be flying by instead of making his way. In just 155 at-bats in the White Sox system, he has jumped to number 49 in the MLB Top 100 prospects list. He is projected to make the team out of Spring Training 2020, but some are thinking about a June or July debut in 2019 for the 21-year-old.
Personally, I do not feel comfortable with Madrigal making his debut in the 2019 season as it seems he is being rushed. Even the most golden of prospects can fall victim to being rushed, which is why I am hesitant. But if he keeps putting up the same insane numbers consistently, it will be hard for me to believe he is not ready for MLB competition.