This is a second case in which a breakout player could be someone who hasn’t played a single game at the major league level.
While Nick Madrigal might not get the starting second base job right out of Spring Training, there is certainly pressure on him to seize the position in very short order.
With the White Sox waiving Gold Glove-winning second baseman Yolmer Sanchez this week, the team appears committed to allowing Madrigal to play second base for the heavy majority of the 2020 season.
The 22-year-old infielder split the 2019 season across three levels and was very impressive, hitting .311/.377/.414 with four homers, 55 RBI, and 35 stolen bases.
Madrigal doesn’t have even close to the same amount of raw power Robert has, but the second baseman struck out a mere 3.0% of the time with only 16 strikeouts in 532 plate appearances.
That is an impressive showing of bat-to-ball skills that is unheard of in today’s game focused on launch angle which has led to an increase in strikeouts.
While the White Sox are likely going to sign a second baseman just in case Madrigal fails, they likely won’t be adding someone that will be expected to start many games throughout the season.
As a result, Nick Madrigal needs to be capable of starting regularly at second base and given his performance in the minors last season, there’s no reason to think that he can’t at least be an average second baseman in 2020.