Over the past few years, the White Sox have called up top tier prospects to play on the big league club with names like Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, Michael Kopech being examples among other players. Today, they have called up Nick Madrigal who will be making his major league debut.
About Nick Madrigal
Madrigal was born on March 5th, 1997, in Sacramento California. He has a twin brother named Tyler who played baseball at Saint Mary’s College. In his senior year of high school, he batted .449 with 28 stolen bases which allowed him to be drafted by the Indians in the 17th round, but instead, he opted to honor his commitment to Oregon State.
Playing 49 games in his freshman year, Madrigal hit .333/.380/.456 with 65 hits while recording one more walk than times he struck out. In year two of college, he hit .380/.449/.532 with 90 hits while walking 11 more times than he struck out and appeared in 60 games. During his junior season, he hit .367/.428/.511 and walked more than twice the amount of times he struck out. In total at the college level, Madrigal played in 151 games hitting .361/.422/.502 with 221 hits over just 37 strikeouts while walking 58 times. He also swiped 39 bases as well.
Madrigal was drafted 4th overall by the White Sox in the 2018 draft and was given a signing bonus of just under $6.5 million. He is currently the 39th ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline. In 2018, he spent time in Rookie Ball and at the Full A level where he combined to hit .303/.353/.348 with 47 hits and just 5 strikeouts.
Last season, he started off at the A Advanced level and worked his way up to AAA. Among the three levels, he combined to hit .311/.377/.414 with 147 hits and just 16 strikeouts while stealing 35 bases. He also appeared in the Futures Game during the all-star week.
In 163 games in the minors, he hit .309/.371/.398 with 194 hits, just 21 strikeouts and 43 stolen bases. He has struck out at a ridiculously low rate of under 3% of plate appearances at the minor league level.
Pro comparison: David Eckstein
Put Eckstein and Madrigal side by side and you can see why they pair up well with each other. While both weigh 175 pounds, Madrigal (5’8) is just an inch taller than Eckstein (5’7).
During his career, Eckstein was primarily a leadoff hitter and Madrigal will most likely be so too. Eckstein was a leadoff hitter due to his high on base percentage and the ability to hit for contact really well. Eckstein hit .280/.345/.355 in his major league career while registering just four hits shy of having 1000 more hits than strikeouts.
Another similar trait is that they both lack power. Eckstein never hit more than 10 HR in a season with the most he ever got in one year being eight. Like Eckstein, Madrigal doesn’t posses much power either although that will be beneficial for the White Sox as he will be able to score lots of runs by getting on base a lot.
The only difference between Eckstein and Madrigal is their position. Eckstein was primary a shortstop while, Madrigal figures to be the White Sox future second baseman as they have Tim Anderson entrenched at the games most important position. Although if Anderson is ever unable to play, Madrigal can slide over as he has experience playing shortstop as that is the position he played in college.
Madrigal will be one of a kind in this era of baseball which lacks premier contact hitters.
Featured image credit: USA Today
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