Nick Madrigal Is Ready For Big League Call
Considering second baseman Yolmer Sanchez won an American League Gold Glove last season, it was a bit of a surprise he was non-tendered by the White Sox.
Then again, maybe not.
From the minute he was drafted No. 4 overall in 2018 out of Oregon State, Nick Madrigal was on a fast track to the major leagues.
"This is a young man who is extremely gifted, who we all love, everything about him,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "He understands who he is and he'll kind of tell us when that time will come.”
The time for Madrigal to take over as the starting second baseman will come in 2020, possibly on Opening Day.
Madrigal hit .311/.377/.414 between high Class A Winston-Salem, Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte in 2019. The numbers say he's ready now.
A natural shortstop, Madrigal has made a smooth transition to second base and plays Gold Glove-caliber defense. He also stole 35 bases last season in his first full year as a pro.
"You look at what he can do defensively, what he can do on the basepaths, his batted-ball skills, it's impressive,” farm director Chris Getz said. "He's also a leader, not only vocally but mainly leading by example, and that's primarily what you want out of a professional athlete.
"What really makes him so impressive is really the focus he brings into every pitch of the game, whether it be in the box or on the defensive side. And he demands that from everyone.”
At 5-foot-7, 165 pounds, Madrigal is not going to be a power threat. But he'll definitely help the White Sox, a team that struck out the fourth most times in the AL.
Madrigal struck out just 16 times last season and his 2.2 percent swinging-strike rate was the lowest among all qualified full-season batters.
"You watch Nick Madrigal hit and you get to see what scouts talk about when they talk about a 70 or higher hit tool,” general manager Rick Hahn said. ". . . It's rare throughout the game to see a guy who can handle the bat the way he can.”
— After being outrighted off the 40-man roster, outfielder Daniel Palka cleared waivers and was assigned to Triple-A Charlotte.
— The White Sox released hard-throwing reliever Thyago Vieira, who will pitch for Yomiuri in Japan next season.