It felt inevitable. Turns out, it was inevitable. Nick Madrigal will join the White Sox today, traveling to Kansas City this weekend.
Two weeks ago, Madrigal fielded questions about making the team, before he knew he’d start the season in Schaumburg. Now, Nick Madrigal Day has come.
“I really do want to be a part of this team from the start. I feel like I deserve it,” Madrigal said. “It’s in the hands of the bosses and the coaches and whatever works for them, but I’ve never wanted something so much in my life, just to be a part of this team right now. I feel like I can help this team win on the field.”
It comes just over two years after the White Sox selected the second baseman from Oregon State in the 2018 Draft with the fourth overall pick. Touted for his consistency at the plate, Madrigal was named the 2017 PAC-12 Player of the Year. He followed it up in his junior year by slashing .367/.428/.511, playing a key role on a team that would win the College World Series. He had a rough Spring Training in his introduction, but White Sox brass sees him as ready now.
“For whatever reason, just things weren’t bouncing my way in Spring Training,” Madrigal said in the same Zoom call. “This time around, I feel like I’m more relaxed and kind of just enjoying the ride more.”
Madrigal spent the last two seasons in the Minors and became the #13 ranked prospect in baseball, according to Baseball Prospectus. His last season at AAA Charlotte, he slashed .331/.398/.424 in 134 plate appearances, further displaying his consistency as a hitter.
While Madrigal severely lacks power at the plate, he profiles as a hitter’s hitter, seemingly always capable of putting the ball where the infield is not. He’s allergic to strikeouts, going down on strikes only 16 times in 532 plate appearances in 2019, and his 8.27 BB% in 2019 is encouraging about his ball-taking prospects. All this combined with plus-speed (35 stolen bases last year) make him an idyllic leadoff hitter. Though the White Sox seem pretty set in the leadoff spot with Yóan Moncada and Tim Anderson, Madrigal still gives them another option at the top of the lineup.
By adding Madrigal to the lineup, the White Sox have an every day infield and a bat that could win a batting title someday. Top to bottom, the White Sox have bats to be afraid of, and perhaps the most difficult out in their lineup will be Madrigal.
The White Sox have rolled with Leury García as the primary second baseman through six games, with Danny Mendick getting a couple innings and a start in that span. That spot will likely become Madrigal’s in a full-time capacity, making the utilityman García another option in the outfield while Nomar Mazara remains on the IL.
Madrigal’s call-up comes at a time with the White Sox trying to recover from a slow start. Considered another crucial piece of the White Sox rebuild, his arrival is another sign to Chicago that the future is now.